The project would serve as the second phase of a development on the former Wanamaker school site.
Goldenberg Group is moving forward with a new $150 million student housing complex at the former site of the John Wanamaker Middle School in North Philadelphia.
It would be a companion tower to the View at Montgomery, which was a $100 million mixed-use development that the Blue Bell-based developer constructed and opened in the fall of 2014. That 14-story, 320,000-square-foot building has 832 beds in 238 residences along with 11,000 square feet of first-floor retail. It caters to Temple University students as will the new tower.
“It’s been 100 percent leased since we opened and it tells me that Temple students were starved for good residential product,” said Kevin Trapper, senior vice president at Goldenberg. “The university continues to grow year after year. We feel bullish about the next phase.”
The new project, referred to as View II at Montgomery, would total 460,000 square feet and have 874 beds spread over 352 fully-furnished apartments. It would have 22,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.
Trapper said that there were some lessons learned from View I that the developer tweaked when designing View II. For example, Goldenberg incorporated more community spaces – especially study rooms that are large enough for groups to gather and work together. Even with View I, Goldenberg revamped what had been a game room and some other spaces and turned them into study rooms and computer labs. In addition to adding study spaces, more amenities and commercial spaces have also been planned for the second phase.
Such projects are part of a new generation of student housing, according to national student housing report by Abodo. Higher enrollments have put pressure on schools’ on-campus housing, leading private developers to fill a void. Private rentals now account for 62 percent of the student housing market.
These new student housing projects are typically located within walking or biking distance from a campus and are amenity rich with common areas that promote social interaction, study rooms, fitness centers, pools, sand volleyball courts, outdoor BBQs and fire pits.
“Some student housing properties have attracted attention for the ‘Club Med’ style of living,” the report said. “From the manager/owner’s perspective, such properties loaded with amenities and unique features also receive a significant benefit from social media and viral marketing. When students invite friends over for volleyball or movie night, they quickly realize what they’re missing out on.”
At the View I, Goldenberg touts the property as “the only, all inclusive resort style student apartments for rent near Temple University.”
This housing does come at a cost with students paying higher rents for the location and amenities.
In Pennsylvania, Drexel University ($1,199), the University of Pennsylvania ($1,198), Temple University ($1,170) and Villanova University ($1,052) have some of the highest student monthly housing rents, according to the Abodo research. At View I, monthly rents run from $799 for a shared room, $979 for a private room and upwards of $1,699 for an entire apartment.
Goldenberg bought the former school in the 1100 block of Cecil B. Moore Avenue in 2008 for $10.75 million. It had originally wanted to convert the school into residential use but those plans were nixed when environmental issues were reportedly insurmountable. As a result, the property was razed to make way for new construction. Its original plans involved a three-phase project with three buildings but that was scaled back to two.
“The sooner we get to market, the better,” Trapper said. The developer would like to break ground this July and have the project completed by fall 2019.