New student housing options opening in South Loop

By Assistant Campus Editor

Anthony Soave
A building at 407 S. Dearborn St. will be transformed into a student housing complex with room spaces for rent, which will be available in August 2015.

The number of students renewing their on-campus housing contracts is on the rise—just as announcements have been made that two new student housing complexes will be rehabilitated in the South Loop.

This year, Columbia has seen a record-high 22.5 percent increase in resident hall contract renewals from freshmen entering their sophomore year, according to Residence Life statistics.

Last spring, 723 students renewed their contracts, and as of March 20, 886 students have renewed their contracts for the Fall 2014 semester. This year’s number is expected to reach 900, according to Mark Kelly, vice president of Student Affairs.

“I’m pretty confident that we will continue to see that increased retention number go into the upcoming years,” Kelly said.

With more students living on campus, Kelly said the college may consider a master lease with one or both of the two new buildings that are being rehabilitated and rebuilt into student housing complexes in the future.

Infinite Chicago, a new student housing facility on 28 E. Jackson Blvd., is now leasing for Fall 2014, in addition to a complex at 407 S. Dearborn St. that will be open to college students in August 2015, according to John Diedrich, vice president of investments at CA Ventures, a company that manages the new college housing providers’ assets.

Kelly said there are currently no plans for the college to purchase any of the buildings, but any future talks about a master lease with one of the buildings could resemble the contract the college has with the residence building 777 S. State St and The Dwight.

“[More housing complexes] means that there will be an even greater sense of a college community centered in the South Loop,” Kelly said. “It’s an ever-increasing concentration of students here.”

Diedrich said the buildings will target current students from universities and colleges throughout The Loop including Columbia, Roosevelt and East-West universities, and other members of the community who are looking for short- or long-term leases.

“Because of the unit mix and the location, the building’s residents will be primarily students, and that’s who we will market toward,” Diedrich said.

Although prices have yet to be set for the 407 S. Dearborn St. building and Infinite Chicago’s rates change on a weekly basis, Diedrich said the price will be reflected on the amenities included.

“We might be a little more expensive, but I think kids will be getting a much nicer product for the premium,” Diedrich said.

The new building at 407 S. Dearborn St. will have all new furnishings, fitness rooms and study spaces, Diedrich said. CA Ventures is also contemplating building a roof deck.

“The ability to roll out of bed and go to class in a matter of minutes will be very convenient for those who decide to live there,” Diedrich said.

Bryan Reid, sophomore arts, entertainment & media management major, said he likes having more student housing buildings in The Loop.

“I always lived off campus,” Reid said. “If I was younger and just starting out at Columbia, I would for sure take advantage of new housing because it’s a great way to meet people in the community.”