A New York-based student housing company has submitted plans to build a 280-unit apartment complex just outside the South Gates of LSU.
Park7 Group wants to rezone a 2.62-acre tract — bordered by West Parker Boulevard, East Boyd Drive, Swire Avenue and Dodson Avenue — to build the Park7 Apartments. The rezoning request is scheduled to go before the city-parish Planning Commission at its Dec. 15 meeting.
The complex would consist of a six-story apartment building and a six-story parking garage with 749 spaces. If approved, construction would begin in the summer with the apartments opening in time for the 2017 fall semester, said Paul Levine, executive vice president of development and a partner with Park7.
Levine said the Park7 apartments will have amenities such as a pool, hot tub and clubhouse on top of the parking garage, an outdoor kitchen, a fitness center, a theater and a game room.
“We think it will be a nice addition to the neighborhood there,” he said.
Because the apartments will be so close to campus, it will be easy for residents to walk or bike to class.
Park7 has been in business since 2010 when a group of veteran student apartment developers banded together. The company has complexes operating or under construction in college cities such as Tuscaloosa, Alabama; Columbia, South Carolina; Lubbock, Texas; and Orono, Maine. Park7 has a portfolio of 5,000 student beds, with another several thousand beds in development, Levine said.
Since 2013, work has been completed or started on 944 student apartment units near LSU. Park7 will be close to the Sterling Burbank complex at 4194 Burbank Drive, a 235-unit development set to open in fall 2015.
More student apartments may be coming. Last week, The Dovetail Companies, an Athens, Georgia, student housing developer, bought nearly 30 acres of land at Burbank and West Lee Drives. Dovetail developed The Woodlands of Baton Rouge, a 291-unit complex at Ben Hur Road east of Nicholson Drive.
One of the factors driving the student apartment construction has been rising enrollment at LSU, said Craig Davenport, who tracks the Baton Rouge apartment market for Cook Moore & Associates. The university announced that fall enrollment was 30,451, the first time since 2005 that LSU had more than 30,000 students. And the figures for 2005 were bolstered by Hurricane Katrina, which displaced students attending New Orleans-area colleges and universities.
“A lot of the interest in student apartments has been from out-of-town developers,” Davenport said. “That shows a national perception that the market here is strong. That’s good for Baton Rouge.”
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