Apartment building debuts in Dinkytown

The University Avenue building is home to students and will house businesses.

Kevin McCahill

Less than a year ago, 1301 University Ave. was a construction site. Now it’s buzzing with student-residents.

The six-story, 92-unit building is billed as a high-style apartment, and its exposed piping and concrete frame create an industrial loft feel. Construction began on the building in fall 2004 and was opened to residents Aug. 31.

Owner Brett Naylor said the intersection of 13th Street and University Avenue was just where he wanted to build.

“It’s the location,” he said.

Naylor said he liked the location’s proximity to Dinkytown and the University.

The building cost more than $12 million to build, according to Naylor, and that expense can be seen in the amenities.

The building has maple doors leading into the rooms. Stainless steel hardware, granite countertops and hardwood floors are standard in each room.

The main floor, which is under construction, will house an exercise area and tanning beds, Naylor said. He also is working to bring in a small business or restaurant to fill the space.

Despite the building’s luxury, the first move-in wasn’t without its kinks.

Students were told they could move in mid-August, only to be contacted the day before and told the building didn’t yet meet safety standards.

Students were allowed to begin moving in on Aug. 31.

Last week a student was trapped in an elevator in the building for nearly an hour.

Naylor said situations like these are part of living in a new building.

“Anytime a new structure is built there are bugs you have to get out,” he said.

Communications sophomore Anne Cascalenda said she likes her new place – a single room she shares with a roommate.

Cascalenda said a few things stood out to her when considering the apartment. She said she liked “the location and that it’s new.”

That means not having to deal with carpet stains or other unsightly details left behind by past residents, she said.

Gretchen Haselbauer, a leisure studies sophomore, agreed.

“It’s new and no one has lived here and it’s not dirty,” she said.

New fixtures, dishwashers and tanning booths also raised the interest of students like Haselbauer.

Rooms range from 380 square feet for singles to 1,330 square feet for four-bedroom units. Costs range from $720 to $2,600 a month, which includes high-speed Internet, heat and cable. The electricity bill is extra.

There are also larger rooms in the building. Five students fill a four-bedroom corner apartment with a view of the campus.

Finance sophomore Brett Pederson and marketing sophomore Jake Dority both stay in the room, which costs $520 per student. They chose the building because of its location.

“We looked in Dinkytown, and you can’t beat the location,” Dority said. “It’s spacious, and it’s good for having people over.”

Naylor said the building is 100 percent occupied.

“It’s been a good experience,” he said. “It’s a great group of tenants. The neighborhood was very good to work with. All in all, it has been a good process.”

This new facility hasn’t had much effect on other apartment complexes. If anything, it has shown there may be a need for more housing.

Brian Nalezny, assistant property manager of GrandMarc apartments on the West bank, said he wasn’t concerned about the new building opening. He said this is the first year in GrandMarc’s existence they are operating at full capacity.

“We serve a select group,” Nalezny said of the mostly law and graduate students in his building. “We aren’t too worried.”

Lindsey Gunstad handles marketing and leasing for Riverton Community Housing, a

co-op that manages The Chateau on 13th Avenue in Dinkytown.

She said The Chateau is nearly full and isn’t concerned about a new high-priced facility.

“We haven’t seen a change (in) applicants,” she said. “We are more about affordable housing rather than luxury housing.”