Improving student housing

The proposal to add more high-density housing near 15th Avenue could improve the quality of student housing.

The battle for quality student housing in the Marcy Holmes and Southeast Como neighborhoods has largely been a tug-of-war between expensive 1301-style apartments and over-occupied, rundown cheap houses. ItâÄôs hard to find an option in between. But a recent plan moving through the City Council that aims to redevelop a three-and-a-half block portion along 15th Avenue by adding more high-density housing could solve the problem by giving students and faculty more options âÄî which could potentially lower the playing field for rent and raise the standard of quality. Indeed, some of the higher-density options in that area, such as The Northstar at Siebert Field, provide great quality housing with a stiff price âÄî sometimes upward to $1,500. Other students get sardined into ramshackle dumps, some living in closets that are promised to be bedrooms âÄî anything to get cheaper rent. Neither option is favorable for students or neighborhood residents. Expensive housing contributes to student debt and over-occupied housing wears on the structure of buildings and causes problems for neighboring homeowners who often have to deal with noisy properties. Students usually donâÄôt do much upkeep with their properties because most of them are there temporarily. And though students think that they are getting a cheaper deal by living in an over-occupied house, they are often being taken advantage of by their landlord who is hiking up prices either way. That is why the redevelopment and building of high-density housing in the neighborhoods is a forward-thinking step to solving many housing issues that students face. We urge the Zoning and Planning Committee to consider this plan as one with much merit and pass it on March 12.