Radius at 15th impresses in first year

The new luxury complex has nearly filled its beds in its first semester.

Nick Wicker

Luxury amenities and prime locations are drawing prospective residents to new apartment buildings near the University of Minnesota.
But for first-year complexes, drawing in residents is especially crucial. 
The Radius at 15th, a luxury, 772-bed apartment building in Dinkytown, opened Aug. 1 and boasts nearly full occupancy this fall — exceeding the expectations of some housing experts. 
The building, located at the corner of 15th Avenue Southeast and Southeast 7th Street, has only 10 beds still open for the fall semester, General Manager Ashley Dahlk said.
The capacity at the Radius is higher than what many apartment buildings in the area hit in their first year, said John Wodele, vice president of marketing for Doran Companies, which owns both the Knoll and the Bridges luxury apartments in Dinkytown. 
But to attract so much attention required an unusually large marketing push in the months before the Radius opened its doors, Dahlk said.
“Everyone does a ton of marketing when you’re doing something like this,” she said.
The ongoing new development around the University is part of a trend toward new, luxury student housing, Ed Goetz, director of the University’s Center for Urban and Regional Affairs, said.
Still, Wodele said the Radius can attribute its success to its location.
He said he thinks the student-athlete population would be attracted to the Radius because it is close to the Bierman Field Athletic Building. 
Entrepreneurial management senior Louis Tuszynski said the brand new building and its amenities, including the large patio and hot tub, brought him to the Radius. 
“I like the community. I like how you can meet a lot of people out in the common areas,” he said. 
Mechanical engineering sophomore Nasser Al-Rasbi heard about the Radius from friends and signed a lease after management offered him a special first-year deal.
“I got the gift card. Now, I pay like $590 [per month],” he said. “It’s a very good price; I’m happy with that.”
Wodele said using attractive offers in its first year will help the Radius retain 
tenants thereafter.
But because costs of operations spike in the second year, he said, owners will raise rent only after they’ve secured a base of tenants. 
“In the first year, you have to do that. … 
Everybody does,” Wodele said. “You want to fill [apartments] up.” 
Though similar luxury buildings continue to pop up around the University, rent prices stay stagnant, Goetz said. Still, students sign high-priced leases in exchange for amenities. 
As a result, Goetz said older apartments and houses near campus lose renters to newer complexes.
“That’s where you may see some of the hurt in the market,” Goetz said.
While both remaining Doran properties near campus are at full capacity now, Wodele said, the Bridges failed to fill all of its units in its first year.
He said the first year is the most important time for a luxury complex. 
“In the student community at the University of Minnesota, word travels fast,” Wodele said. “Buildings take on a reputation based on what goes on in them in the first year.”
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