No Vacancy: College Hill still looking for retailers

Victoria Garcia

With the clubhouse only weeks away from being complete, College Hill Apartments has officially reached the halfway mark in regards to the progress in the overall construction.

“We are currently 75 percent done with the construction of the apartments and are now beginning to focus on the construction of buildings E, F and J, which will be featuring 24 units of town homes starting at $130,000,” said Kim Cina, property manager. “The entire project is scheduled to be complete by August 2008.”

Although they have had some bites, the retail areas located on the bottom floors of buildings A, B and C remain unoccupied as the leases on each of the open spaces have yet to be signed. Cina is estimating that they will have settled on at least one of their retail choices by mid-spring. She hopes to bring a retail business in that will cater to the desires of Washburn students. Whether the desire has something to do with food is still yet to be decided upon.

“We need Washburn to scratch our back so that we can scratch Washburn’s back,” said Cina. “If the students take care of the retail area then we will, in return, take care of the students.”

This estimated timeline of completion will come just in time for the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. Cina is already expecting a near-full occupancy due to the expected rush of new students.

“There hasn’t been much shelf life for these apartments because they are in such high demand,” said Cina. “We are currently sitting at about a 65 percent occupancy in our apartments overall and we’ve already pre-leased a number of apartments for August.”

Cina believes a large amount of their rapid success is owed to residents spreading the word as well as the apartments’ still-developing curb appeal.

“Our common demographic has been young professionals,” said Cina. “What I’m seeing here are people who know that they are worth spending the money to live in a place like this and they are reaping the benefits of doing so.”

The leasing office, which is currently located in building A, will relocate to its intended area in the clubhouse upon its completion in March. The clubhouse will be home to a gym featuring several exercise machines, with flat screen televisions and a weight lifting area as well as a pool and hot tub. There will also be a game room, a full-sized kitchen offering a daily continental breakfast for residents, a 45-seat movie theater, and a business center that provides several computers with Internet access, as well as a printer and fax machine.

“College Hill residents will be able to enjoy all of the amenities that the clubhouse has to offer, at no extra charge, as everything is included in their monthly rent,” said Cina.

Rent per month ranges from $615 for a one-bedroom apartment to around $1000 for a three-bedroom apartment.

Cina’s hope is that the completion of the College Hill Apartments project will jump-start a much-needed residential as well as retail improvement in the College Hill area.

“Our presence is known and we hope to encourage the surrounding property owners to clean up their area and enhance their curb appeal,” said Cina. “College Hill is a beautiful area and it deserves to appear that way.”