Residential Life removes lowest-cost apartment options due to lack of demand, maintenance

| Senior Editor

The Office of Residential Life announced that three off-campus apartments previously offered by Washington University for student housing would not be available in the coming academic year via email on Friday.

The three buildings—University Terrace at 6490 Enright Avenue, 6640 Washington Avenue and 6644 Washington Avenue—comprised the lowest-cost housing tier for those in Residential Life housing. For the 2016-2017 academic year, those apartments cost $9,300, compared to the next lowest-cost option, the Rosedale Avenue apartments, which cost $9,950.

The University Terrace housing complex at 6490 Enright Avenue. The building has experienced several plumbing issues, including flooding, this year, which has contributed to Residential Life’s decision to discontinue its use as ResLife housing for next year.Alice Wang | Student Life

The University Terrace housing complex at 6490 Enright Avenue. The building has experienced several plumbing issues, including flooding, this year, which has contributed to Residential Life’s decision to discontinue its use as ResLife housing for next year.

The email from Residential Life also noted that those who were planning on Homesteading—wherein students request to stay in the same apartment for the next year—would have to apply for housing through either the Apartment Group Housing Petition or the General Apartment Petition.

“The Office of Residential Life adapts our off-campus apartment offerings to best meet the needs of our students interested in living in apartments. This sometimes involves us not offering the same buildings every year,” the email stated.

Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Rob Wild cited a lack of need for the buildings and maintenance issues as the two primary reasons for University Terrace and the Washington Ave. apartments being made unavailable.

“Last year we needed a lot of beds because we were building Umrath, but when Umrath opened that’s part of the reason we don’t need as many beds moving forward, because we’ve filled enough beds, we think, to meet the demand,” Wild said.

Wild also noted the high cost it would require to renovate the University Terrace building, which this year alone has experienced several plumbing issues, including some flooding.

“[University Terrace] is a wonderful building that has a lot of what I would call ‘deferred maintenance,’” Wild said. “Which means that when I talk to folks in facilities and others who are responsible for maintaining that building, there is just a lot of work that needs to be done on the infrastructure of that building.”

As of now, the University was not interested in investing in the renovations required.

“The bigger concern for us in Residential Life is that we just don’t think that that building, moving forward, is of a quality that we want to be putting students in,” Wild said.

Aside from the Rosedale Apartments, there will not be a similarly-priced option for the coming academic year. However, Wild said that Residential Life will be working to reduce price increases on other housing options in order to help compensate for the change.

“We’ve been working hard the last three years in the business office to minimize the increases in housing rates and reduce the discrepancy that the family can experience year over year when they move from one type of housing to another,” Wild said. “We haven’t decided on the rates yet for next year, but I’m sure we’re going to push again next year to keep the increases relatively low.”

Both the University Terrace building and the Washington Avenue buildings are owned by Quadrangle Housing, a subsidiary of the University, not by the Office of Residential Life—unlike the South 40 dorms, the Village and other housing.

Each year, Residential Life determines how much off campus housing they will need, and then “master leases” those properties from Quadrangle, because they are still owned by the University. When a building goes out of rotation, it goes back to Quadrangle.

“Usually what happens is Quadrangle will just take them back on and lease them out or renovate them or do whatever,” Wild said.

The long-term future of University Terrace, however, seems likely to end in demolition.

“That building was part of a complex that was built where the Lofts currently stand and that building has always been destined to be taken down whenever the University decides to begin the second phase of the Lofts,” Wild said.