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Posted on Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

4 ways student high-rise developments could change Ann Arbor's rental market

By Lizzy Alfs


Zaragon West, located at the southeast corner of East William and Thompson streets, is projected to be completed by fall 2012.

Melanie Maxwell |

Ann Arbor has seen a wave of student high-rise developments built in the last few years, marking a significant shift in the quality, expectations and cost of student living in the city.

And with two new high-rises currently under development - Zaragon West and 601 Forest - questions are raised about how these high-end developments will affect the off-campus student rental market in Ann Arbor.

In the past two years, Zaragon Place and Sterling 4-Eleven Lofts added about 600 bedrooms onto the leasing market in the downtown and campus areas of Ann Arbor. The additions of Zaragon West, formerly called Zaragon Place 2, and 601 Forest will add another 1,000 rooms to the market once those projects are completed.

Following the high-rise trend, the 13-story student housing project, The Varsity, was recently proposed for East Washington Street, but has yet to receive approval from Ann Arbor Planning Commission.

With a huge influx in high-end student housing coming onto the rental market in a short period of time, local real estate experts are looking at how the high-rises are changing the more traditional off-campus student living.

Here are four ways that new student high-rise developments may affect the market, according to local industry observers:

1. Improvements to off-campus properties

Many of the off-campus student houses in Ann Arbor were converted from single-family homes decades ago, making many of them outdated and rundown. Because the new developments are often of higher quality, landlords of off-campus housing may be forced to invest in improving their properties in order to compete.

Jason Costello, president of Cabrio Properties in Ann Arbor, said this is true of the properties that Cabrio owns and manages.

“The student high-rise market motivates us, and likely other owners, to take care of their properties better and provide a higher level of service,” he said.

To be sure, not all off-campus property owners have invested in cleaning up their properties yet, but Jim Chaconas, an Ann Arbor-based commercial real estate agent with Colliers International, said that landlords soon might have no other choice.

“Student high-rises will make landlords be more attentive to their properties for sure,” he said. “The student ‘slumlord’ days are over. If parents are going to pay, they’re likely going to choose something nicer for a little more.”

2. Change in rental rates

Rental rates for the new student high-rises can be more than $1,000 per person, making off-campus housing seem like a steal at rates a few hundred dollars less per month.

But because the new developments offer a high-quality living experience, some local experts speculate that off-campus landlords will have to lower rent prices to compete.

Mark Foraker, senior vice president of The Dinerstein Companies, the company that owns Sterling 4-Eleven Lofts, said he suspects that once Zaragon Place 2 and 601 Forest begin leasing, everyone’s rental rates will have to decrease.

“The new developments are going to drive rent prices down,” Foraker said. “I think it has to. High-rise rents are pretty lofty now, and they’re going to take a hit because there will be more on the market and less demand.”

Local developer Ed Shaffran agreed and said there has to be a saturation level for the high-rise market, which will eventually lower rent prices across the board.

“We’re not going to know until we hit that saturation point, but then the prices will start to come down for all of them,” he said.

3. Consolidation of the “fringe” properties

With more student housing options being offered closer to campus, the properties that are farther away from the downtown and campus areas are quickly becoming less appealing for students.

Chaconas of Colliers pointed out that the market is consolidating closer to campus, which means some of the fringe properties may fall off the student market.

Years down the road, those properties could be converted back to residential single-family homes as the demand for student housing moves closer to campus.

4. Higher standards of safety

Foraker of The Dinerstein Companies said he has seen a large increase in the demand for safe living conditions due to recent crime in Ann Arbor, including six sexual attacks that occurred in July.

“Parents, given choices and crime this summer, are willing to pay a little more for an environment that is safe,” he said.

He said the safety conditions at 4-Eleven Lofts, including 24-hour access control for all doors and elevators, security cameras and security guards in the evening hours, cannot be rivaled by most off-campus housing.

“4-Eleven is as good, if not better, than most housing as far as safety,” he said.

With these types of security measures at new student developments, off-campus housing will be expected to increase safety conditions to meet the demands of students and parents.

Lizzy Alfs is a business reporter for Reach her at 734-623-2584 or email her at Follow her on Twitter at


Silly Head

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 9:03 p.m.

A lot of wide brush strokes in the above comments. I think this article, impacts a more specific market of undergrads. I do think with newly developed grad programs that there has been a modest and steady increase in students, even if there is a cap on undergrads. What really amazes me is the model and ensuing speculation seems devoid of finding out what the "customer" wants. I don't think all of our student renters have a Jersey Shore mentality and are only focused on gyms, laundry and tanning. My experience is that our students (especially grad students) are a bit more evolved and desire things such as green initiatives (which may mean that air conditioners and clothes dryers are to be used sparingly), walking communities, waste reduction efforts (re-use and recycle), land to grow organic produce, and non-allergenic building environments - generally things not given much thought in the developers rush to appeal to wealthy parents. Nobody much talks about the preferences, initatives and the generally ability for "students" to have their own opinions about where they'd like to live -- many want not to live like their parents have.

Silly Head

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 1:46 p.m.

@Tom W - this document appears to support my belief that there has been a slow and steady increase in the graduate student population. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Obviously we can slice data all different ways, PT or FT, by enrollment, by head count, by campus, etc. Taking into consideration the validity of reported statistics from a very disjointed administrative structure - you could also tack on the probability of a significant margin of error in single piece of data. As an aside and Ironically in context of the comments here about the deplorable off-campus housing situation, if you look at CollegeProwler, you can see that UofM has the highest rated off-campus housing in Michigan; in fact, the only campus that I could find with an &quot;A-&quot; rating. I think people's long standing belief of the 'slums of UofM' simply reflect more what they expect the branded &quot;Univesity of Michigan&quot; to be, an elite school -- no common housing will be considered anything less than unacceptable, (not to say there aren't disgusting properties here -- I lived in one; but that was a long time ago). I think people need to constantly challenge their beliefs, concede to the concept of &quot;change&quot; and use data when reasonable to support their views (most data is not reasonable IMHO) - otherwise it's just a lot of hyperbole.

Tom Whitaker

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 11:06 p.m.

Unfortunately, the number of grad students decreased by almost 4% last academic year (569 fewer grad student enrolled in Fall 2010 compared to Fall 2009). Enrollment data for Fall 2011 is not yet available, but previous years' data may be found at: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> .

Tom Whitaker

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 6:06 p.m.

Annual UM enrollment increases are over. See: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> where UM Associate Vice-Provost Ted Spencer was quoted: "We have focused attention on assuring that the fall 2011 entering class will be closer to our customary 5,700-freshman population," Mr. Spencer said. "This is a critical concern because the size of the entering class impacts the experience of all undergraduates. In order to preserve the quality of the undergraduate experience over all, we are taking every possible step to make sure this over-enrollment does not recur." The City has already seen the addition of thousands of student beds in the past several years including UM's North Quad, Cornerhouse, Courtyards, 411 Lofts, and Zaragon, being the largest ones. Zaragon West and 601 Forest will add hundreds more next year. This year, there's been a tightening of the rental market due to 2010's record enrollment (and sophomores now moving off-campus), and the fact that UM continues to rehab dorms--taking hundreds of beds out of the available supply each year. Those renovations will not continue indefinitely. Zaragon West and 601 Forest will both go online next Fall, and if Mr. Spencer is correct, enrollment this Fall and next, will return to previous years' levels. It's only realistic to anticipate a softening of the off-campus student housing market, especially in a couple of years, when UM is done renovating dorms. If these high-rises can't fill up at the high rents needed to pay off their construction debts, then foreclosures and lower rents could follow (as well as reduced property-tax revenues). Off-campus landlords will have to decide whether to continue trying to compete for the student dollar with improvements, upgrade their units for working/retired adults, or sell the houses to owners who want to return them to single-family use. Depending on the neighborhood, there should be opportunities for all three.

Chris Heaton

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 4:26 p.m.

I'm a local property owner working hard to improve my apartments do a good job managing them - here's my take on the article and some of the comments. 1.) I like my chances competing against a 1 bedroom apartment that rents for $1500 a month - rounding out at $2000 with utilities and parking (like 4-eleven Lofts). 2.) I think the article fails to address the question of expanding enrollment at U of M and how that's actually changed and will continue to change over the next decade or so. Adding 300-600 students a year for 5 years has to be factored into any market analysis 3.) I'm hopeful that at some point students will resist City and University efforts to contract their range and pen them up in 14 story buildings when they'd prefer to live at street level with a covered front porch, room for 5 cars in the backyard and a 2-8 bock walk to campus. 4.) So far as I can see the local housing code and its enforcement are concerned the codified expectations of rental property owners are far better enforced than any City or U of M standard of conduct governing students. &quot;The finest institution of higher learning in America&quot; is no better than most when it comes to controlling the conduct of the people it invites to our city. 5.) Dr. Webster - visit an inner city slum - I truly see no comparison. 6.) Ignatz is on the money - increased enrollment is likely to be tracked to more academically marginal children of money - probably from out of state - who wouldn't have made the cut a decade ago. Housing is going the way of the football stadium - economically stratified with end zoners, club seating, sky boxes and &quot;preferred seating donations&quot;.

Stuart Brown

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:43 a.m.

What has not been mentioned is that the cost of student dorms has gotten so inflated and so ridiculous that it is now highly profitable for large corporations to invest huge sums of capital in student housing. This trend represents a failure of public policy by the University of Michigan since they have not kept the cost of dorms in line with inflation over the last 30 years. Students can now get luxury housing for about what the dorms would cost; what a joke! The &quot;non-profit&quot; University of Michigan has raised housing costs so much, the for profits can come in and do very well, thank-you. I never cease to be underwhelmed by what the U does! Glad the U is looking out for us masses!

Stuart Brown

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 12:14 p.m.

leaguebus, Yes, I saw the review of 411 and yes, it was not flattering; but the reference point was the high end of the rental market i.e. Zargon 1 not the UofM dorms. One not only needs to consider the total cost but the value received for your money spent and compared to what one gets from a dorm, I think 411 gives back much more for each dollar spent. As far as UofM recouping its investment of over $110 million dollars rehabbing two dorms (Alice Lloyd and East Quad), there is simply no way that any savings in utilities will pay for this investment over any time span. As I have said, the ICC could provide much more cost effective student housing solutions for much less money. If this $110 million was given to the ICC and the rehabs at the two dorms were canceled and the two dorms simply torn down; students would see much more value for the expenditure of this public resource. The ICC could provide excellent housing for about $50K per bed and I bet they could throw in solar panels on the roofs with geothermal heating to boot. This $110 million would provide about 2200 beds, about double the number currently in the two dorms. Best of all, a net increase of 1100 beds of low cost housing would keep rents in Ann Arbor down for years even if you are not an undergrad student.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

That is only 411, the rest of the buildings Zaragon 1 and 2, plus the new one on South U and Forest are $1100. Read the Daily review about 411, not too flattering. Plus $165 for a parking space and $95 a month for utilities at 411. You are correct about the ICC houses, they are a deal. As far as the dorms go, the U is not trying to make a profit with them, so updating them makes good sense. Especially if these updates last for another 50 years. Plus, these updates will probably pay for themselves with energy savings over the next 20 or so years.

Stuart Brown

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Not so! Sterling 411 Lofts has a one bedroom in a four bedroom &amp; two bath suite for about $800 per month. Your price is probably for a shared two person dorm room with community bathroom. If you look at the money UofM spends to rehab old dorms like Alice Lloyd (about $50-60 million) you could build all kinds of luxury dorms. If you don't mind dorm living, live in the ICC co-ops for about $600/month for room and board; you save about $400/month. Unlike the UofM dorms, the ICC has kept its student costs in line with inflation over the last 30 years. Here is an idea, skip the $50-60 million dollar rehab of Alice Lloyd (tear it down) and give the money to the ICC! Rather than providing 500 beds at about $100K per bed you could build new housing for 1000 beds run by the ICC at about $50K per bed. Guess what else is also true? The ICC pays taxes to local government of about $250K per year for the 600 beds the ICC has while the UofM pays nothing (yet their costs are much higher).


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 1:56 p.m.

Room and board at one of the dorms is $9500 for the year. Its high, but when you consider $12K just for a room, its not so bad.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

I have heard that the University has failed, for years, to provide enough dorm space for the undergrads and that the U was thereby forced to let them live off campus which precipitated the rental sprawl into what had been residential neighborhoods. Did the city try to work with the U in that regard? Certainly some of the chopped up houses can be reclaimed as nice family dwellings.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

Many of the rental properties, as well as many frats, have unsafe conditions. The lack of code enforcement and fire safety inspections, is appalling. I'd like to see random code and fire inspections, and for the frats adult oversight (the boards that oversee the frats). Thinking that 18-21 year olds give any thought to safety is not realistic.

Joe Kidd

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 7:22 p.m.

Funny. I went to UM in the 70s. Even back then we described the area south of campus as the student slum and it looks exactly the same now. A lot more cars on lawns now. I am surprised the landlords didn't try to claim the high rises violated historic districts to try to keep them out.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:08 p.m.

Surely you jest, Mr Blue, there are only a handfull of single family homes in that area, most are slummy rentals and the landlords won. There is no grand architecture in that area, unless you consider the two story building that used to be the motorcycle club headquarters/ auto shop on S. Fourth, just north of Madison. From my view Terry is correct.

Mr Blue

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 8:31 p.m.

The development proposed for across the street from Fingerle was a proposed PUD and was denied because it was the wrong project on the wrong piece of property. It was a developer made fiasco and they killed it themselves with their own greed and clumsiness. People who opposed it were just practicing their due diligence in making the powers that be sit up and take notice.

Terry Redding

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 7:54 p.m.

They did try and succeed in blocking the development around Fingerle Lumber.

Mr Blue

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

And some people claim Ann Arbor hates development? There's not enough housing? Not enough tall buildings? Good grief. The facts prove otherwise. Ann Arbor loves development sometimes to the detriment of what makes it a great place to live. These student projects prove it.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 5:06 p.m.

It is much better to house the students in high rises than to continue the sprawl and destruction of residential areas. Reclaim those old houses.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 6:05 p.m.

The power of the private sector is clearly on display. Competition is impacting the housing market; Lower rents, higher quality, increasing downtown density, combatting urban sprawl. Privately owned high rises will be property taxes, which are sorely needed. Let's hope this is a trend that will increase, not only in the housing sector but other sectors of our economy.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 5:19 p.m.

There is another population to consider in this potential change of rental population. And that is the elderly. Over 40 years ago when I was a graduate student living in an efficiency apartment on North State in a converted residence, there were many retirement age people living in houses or in apartments in that area. They are gone now and one reason being lack of supporting services within walking distance. There had been a grocery story on Huron that was walking distance for residents (of all ages). With the change in population demographics looming for our society, maybe some entrepreneurs will consider this population. I enjoyed living in a multi-generational neighborhood and would like to see that concept thought about. I too agree with comments that many students would prefer to have the peace and quiet of their own apartment without the roommate hassle--high rises is not the answer for many people (of all ages).


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 4:57 p.m.

I'll have to see it to believe it, landlords around A2 lowering their rents to compete with the new high rises. Many &quot;slum&quot; landlords charge unbelievably high rents for dumps around town, do little as far as maintenance, and in some cases, don't install proper locks on front doors to houses that have been converted to apartments, don't remove snow from parking areas or walkways, don't respond to maintenance requests, and allow the property to deteriorate. I lived in an old house on the west side years ago that was converted to apartments that had squirrels living in the attic (literally) that ran around between the apartments in the ceilings, and that had bats getting in around the window frames which were full of holes and gaps. This was a true slumlord situation, one of many in a town full of them. I don't see them lowering their rents. I'd love to see some of them be forced out of business, however. Not nearly enough enforcement of building codes and ordinances in A2, to say the least.

Tony Livingston

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:45 a.m.

There are city ordinances that cover all of these problems. Just call and report it. The city inspects rental property every 2 years and there is no way any landlord could get away with improper locks. As far as squirrels in the attic, just call the housing department and they will come out and inspect and force the landlord to correct the problem.

Tom Joad

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 4:39 p.m.

I strongly oppose the construction of another highrise on E. Washington. That area is already congested with traffic and it's other frontage on E. Huron is basically becoming a highrise corridor totally inconsistent with the low-slung buildings of Ann Arbor's character.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

Interesting story. Illustrates an opportunity for the legislature to tackle a problem that many university towns experience. Over the years many homeowners and investors have divided single family houses into multi-units apartments. Many of these houses are historic and impressive. Conversion would enhance the neighborhoods and the values to all nearby houses. Realistically, it can only happen if Lansing would quit focusing only on the billionaires and consider a tax incentive package to incentivize owners (small investors) to convert these houses back into single family homes. A combination of grants, tax credits, and exemptions could make a property more valuable to the owner as a converted single family house than to manage a house which faces the certainty of additional investment and declining rents as a result of the growth of high rise student housing. As an example look at College Place Street in Ypsilanti. College Place is a short road, lined with trees and what was originally a graceful neighborhoods with beautiful single family homes primarily owned by EMU professors. Now every house has been chopped up into multi-unit dwellings filled with young people, not all of which are students. Can we imagine how nice a converted College Place street would be for future home owners (families) and for the city. But conversion cannot happen in this real estate market without state assistance. Since Rick Snyder and his team (yes men) are more interested in helping the billionaires and big business with Michigan corporate welfare, it will be up to legislators like Jeff Irwin to look at this issue and see if an incentive package can be put together to help rebuild some neighborhoods in our university towns from the inside out while uplifting the cityscape.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

way to make this into a political statement blaming the governor, you forgot to blame Bush too...and by the way, it's the wealthy that are putting out the big bucks for their kiddies to share a $5k a month apartment.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 6:28 p.m.

Conversion back to a single family house can only work if all neighbors decide to do the same. This does not sound probable.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 3:51 p.m.

For those of us who live in condominium complexes away from campus, the salutory effect of the increase in high-rise student rentals in the central campus area may be that married students and other couples and families will replace noisier and shorter-term student tenants. If students prefer the high-rise rentals, maybe they will even cut down on housing purchases by parents who walk away from underwater properties after thier kids graduate and depress property values.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 10:11 p.m.

As a resident of the Arlington Place Condos, I hope this is the case.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 3:24 p.m.

FINALLY!!! Many campus landlords have provided the absolute minimum at very inflated prices since I first lived in Ann Arbor since the late 60s and I'm sure for many many years before that.) I hope this article helps force these landlords to upgrade their properties or lower the rents.

say it plain

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 5:09 p.m.

yes, A2_Wookie, but that's changing for at least the mid-level and below 'rich kids' now that housing (especially in a state like MI) isn't the 'investment' it used to be! That's why developers had to get out of the condo/subdivision market and into the college-rental market! As long as we continue to accept that students should pay 1000 bucks/mo a bed to attend college, the rental rates will stay high in all housing that students find acceptable. I'd guess that UM's dorm-room charges will continue to be one factor most relevant to all student-y rental rates in the city. If they stay at like 500 bucks per loft-bed then those high-rise buildings should continue to easily get a thousand a bed for better/nicer/more high-status spaces. So long as the college cost bubble still exists, and we as a society continue our ridiculous willingness to rack up tabs of hundreds of thousands of dollars for kids' BAs (as the 'value' of a US education to all but status-and-connections-seeking wealthy asian immigrants declines), rents in central Ann Arbor should stay well inflated, even if the outer-edge slumlords will have to take a little haircut...

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 8:39 p.m.

Most rich kids have their parents buy condos as an investment and for housing while their here. Just a 411.

Joe Kidd

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

They may decrease Mr. Blue is vacancy rates increase. Minus the high rises, students who live off campus had very little other choice than the student slums. So the rich kids lived there too.

Mr Blue

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

Actually, with the rates that these high rent hi rises will command will do little to nothing for the rents in older student rentals. The rich kids will go to the new buildings with all the amenities the the less affluent will go to the existing student housing. Rents will not go down.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

It finally dawned on me what's going on and I like it. Albeit if it is a bit of a risky move. Consolidating student housing into high-rises in downtown A2 is a smart idea if you want to put the squeeze on all the slumlords in and around our neighborhoods in A2. Furthermore, it should force them to sell out, which means perhaps that these former one family homes will be sold and restored to their former glory. I salute counsel on the plan, let's hope it works.

Tony Livingston

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:13 p.m.

This has happened somewhat in Ypsilanti also. As the new modern student apartments became available, the neighborhoods that were once populated by students became empty or populated by less desirable tenants. The property owners began having a hard time making ends meet as many had paid respectable prices 10 or so years ago when the market was thriving and have mortgages. At this point, you can buy foreclosed properties near EMU for $40 thousand as income property owners are unable to recoup their investments. Most landlords, by the way, are ordinary people who bought a few properties and do much of the work managing and repairing themselves. This is not hurting wealthy far away investors. It is hurting the guy next door.


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

Oh, cue the violins. You can be the guy next door and still be a slumlord.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

Hi-rise buildings are boring for those who live there - and too pricey. The difference is basically new carpet and paint. Perhaps location. . The developers will have little room to lower rents, the land itself is pricey - where as the slum lords have buildings that were paid off years ago and can drop rents below &quot;hi-rise&quot; rates with ease. It is easier to cut $100-$300/month and just lease the space as is, instead of dropping $50-$100k in major renovations. $100 per month is serious money to a student. The slums stay! Students choose!


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:11 p.m.

With leases averaging $1000 per month for a year, the new student high rises are not cheap especially when that money only allows you to share space with up to three other students. U of M is not increasing enrollment so at some point the availability of high cost leasing units will exceed the number of students who find these units affordable. Because of the high cost of construction the owners of Zaragon 2 and similar recent construction can not drop their leasing rates and still make a profit. Ashley Terrace is a recent example the high-priced rental formula gone bust. While I do not like Ann Arbor's skyline marred by these mega-floor structures I do hope that Zaragon 2 is successful so that Ann Arbor will benefit from TIF funds and so that the building does not become a blight downtown. BTW, as a 35 year resident of Ann Arbor I am unaware of U of M students incurring injuries from living in unsafe off university cheap rental units. The recent physical attacks on women happened downtown and on campus and not at the victims' residences.

The Picker

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 1:55 p.m.

I think just the opposite will occur! The shine will wear off these vanilla boxes in the sky and the realization that I can have my own one or two bedroom apt with my own kitchen, living room, and parking space for about the same price or less as a single room with 5 other strangers. ( you don't really know people until you live with them). These new buildings are essentially rooming houses and it only takes one crackhead sublet off of craigslist to spoil the party in these communal living situations and nothing says home like the smell of urine in your elevator. I agree that some landlords don't do enough to maintain their properties, but not the majority, and to be fair, the landlords don't destroy their own places. The price per head at these new places ($1100.00+) will only set the bar higher, helping to raise the rental rates for all student housing. It is true that the fringe properties will suffer first due to demand issues, but their rates will drop and those who do not need location will enjoy reasonable prices for a while. Regarding safety, Are these new buildings going to supply personal protection? Last I heard the current problems took place on the streets, so how is this a factor in this discussion? A better question is do the fire trucks have ladders that reach the upper floors of these buildings? Another factor not heard in this discussion is how the University unfairly competes with the private sector. Will their rates have an impact on this market? Remember they don't pay taxes!


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

aw come on, really now....been reading in business journals that the developers are turning to campus rental developement on college campus' where students have wealthier parents. Developers can't do their big subdivisions in the burbs these days...they figured out where the money is flowing. ...the developers want in...they are searching for campus settings where they can push Univ of Mich,there are fewer students now than ever from moderate or lower income the fancy, expensive stuff...then say how the other housing is sub-par. Ann Arbor and campus settings with wealthy and/or foreign students are the newest &quot;market&quot;. Maybe the Incidents on the blocks around there are BECAUSE there are more concentrations of students who are seen now walking closer to alleys adjacent to these buildings around Washington/Thompson/State St.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 1:24 p.m.

With all of these High rises and nice student housing projects where are the drifters, homeless and drop-outs going to live? Maybe Ann Arbor needs to have some low cost housing so we can keep the Noble Homeless around or else they will become an endangered species!


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 2:45 p.m.

Have you not driven or walked passed the Homeless Hiltons? LOL...although the facility on W Huron is fairly nice looking and rather expensive to run...A2 doesn't really have that big of a &quot;homeless&quot; population, but a large group of &quot;cons and panhandlers&quot; that feed off the very naive residents...I would be willing to bet that there is less than a dozen of truly homeless living and sleeping in the downtown area. Most of those that people believe are homeless are residents at Delonis that stay out at night because they have to be sober to gain entrance....and they're not.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 12:59 p.m.

Don't forget that the UM has embarked on and is well into a program to expand and improve its dormitory living spaces. Renovations of the Hill Area dorms are nearing completion and East Quad is on the table for renovation work. The new North Quad is huge and right in the downtown area. These facilities will draw students and compete with the local rental market. Unlike this article, I don't think the high-rises will drop their rents much if at all despite the expansion. I think these spaces will be in high demand by students moving from dorms into rentals. What's left will be cutthroat though. I have a feeling there will be quite a few dwelling house rental companies that will need to rethink their market and whom to attract. For instance, perhaps a push to accommodate graduate students with families. Family housing is limited at UM to the Northwoods complexes which are kind of isolated and remote from the main city. Many graduate students with families may prefer living nearer the main campus in housing with yards and playgrounds nearby. Current dwelling units may need to be modified into duplex or quad structures to accommodate families. Still, it would bode well for the city if more graduate student families could move in creating a better, less transient and less boisterous base in the older neighborhoods.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:15 p.m.

UM and A2 had to work together. Don't forget that!


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

What I find troubling is that the disparity between the rich and the not so rich will start at an earlier age. Whereas at one time there was a mix of the well to do with the more common folk in housing, now those experiences, for either side, are diminishing. It will make it that much easier for groups to belittle the other because they won't see the human factor, but rather the monetary one. Perhaps the next step might be more traditional gated communities.

Dr. Webster

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

It's about time something came along that can break the monopoly of the slum landlords. The horrible, dangerous living conditions that today's off campus students live in is only rivalled by our worst inner city slums. The landlords only do what very little they have to keep their properties open. The city does not enforce it's codes the way they should. The students suffer and the once beautiful homes are a disgrace to one of the finest institutions of higher learning in America, The University of Michigan!


Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 4:49 p.m.

You clearly have never owned a rental property. Without fail, the city inspects it every two years, checking for every possible code violation under the sun right down to testing EVERY outlet in a house to make sure it is properly grounded. If the house needs to be painted, they make you paint it. If the roof is failing, you're going to have to replace it. No questions asked. If the house looks a mess from the outside, blame the students. And if its condition isn't historically perfect, that's what the market dictates. Remember, its a business.

5c0++ H4d13y

Mon, Aug 29, 2011 : 12:06 p.m.

How can a diverse group of landlords have a &quot;monopoly&quot;?


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:43 p.m.

&quot;The horrible, dangerous living conditions that today's off campus students live in is only rivalled by our worst inner city slums.&quot; You need to get out more. Travel to Detroit to see a real inner city slum, and Ann Arbor will not look so bad. It is hyperbole like this that shows how truly out of touch the residents of the People's Democratic Republic of Ann Arbor are.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 12:04 p.m.

OMG, this construction is cosmetically too high for the beautiful skyline of Ann Arbor.....remember when reputable builders and the like were turned away because of the city would beg for them to return......

Donald Wilson

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 11:26 p.m.

I think what you were trying to say was &quot;This construction is cosmetically too high for the TREELINE of Ann Arbor&quot;. Ann Arbor doesn't HAVE a skyline (well, except the high school). Denser population is GOOD for business downtown, as long as the DDA makes sure to attract people that will cater to that market.

Wolf's Bane

Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 2:14 p.m.

Yeah, that's what they said about Tower Plaza.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 12:02 p.m.

It would be nice to see the student slums improved and I agree that it will happen. However, not every student (especially in these tougher times) has a parent or benefactor that can bankroll higher cost living expenses and will need to opt for a less expensive (or cheap) option. Moreover, there is something to be said for living in a house with a bunch of other, and sometimes strange, people and learning that &quot;reality&quot; TV has got it wrong. I had friends who lived in the high rises and visited their nice, clean places. But for the most part, I was in the slums because that was where you ate, drank, and had fun. If you wanted to study, you were going to the library anyway. Maybe the new high rises will change things, but maybe not that much.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 11:22 a.m.

Nice article. It will be nice to see landlords forced to clean up and update the rentals in town. Too many are eyesores.


Sun, Aug 28, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

Nicely done article and interesting perspective.