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Student Housing update 9/1/13 - Greek housing rumor, The Grove details and The Tilted Kilt

Oh, housing. How we need more of you.

As you're aware, the new freshmen dorm Parliament Hall opened up this semester and it's a hit with students. The total on-campus residential population is now hovering at approximately 4,300 and will remain that way until we build either IVA Phase II or Greek Housing.

on that front, I heard a rumor that a private developer has expressed interest in developing off-campus Greek Housing for FAU, which thickens the plot since the last thing I heard was that the Greek Housing would go west of the upcoming Parking Garage 3. I don't know the developers name or what the progress is, though I do know that the City of Boca Raton would have to sign off on it and I have some difficulty seeing that happen.

Even if they did, the developer would likely have to find a site adjacent to campus and away from single family homes because residents were already complaining about Addison Park being noisy, though to their credit Addison Park fixed all those issues.

Where would this off-campus Greek Housing go? Maybe it's this space at 2600 NW 5th Avenue next to the Winwood complex? Developers have proposed something called The Grove there. Requests have been made to rezone the space from "Residential Low" to "Residential High" allowing up to 20 unites per acre. More specifically, the developer is seeking approval to build a 142-unit student housing complex of 275,266 square feet. Doesn't exactly sound like the typical Greek Housing if it is, considering that it would be larger than Parliament Hall (197k sq ft). Sounds more like regular student apartments.

UPDATE (9/4/13 @ 7:45 pm)
I've tracked down a company called Campus Crest which has a number of apartment complexes called "The Grove" across the country. You can see some pictures of their developments on the website here. Looks really nice. They describe the community: "The Grove is our garden-style brand of lifestyle-driven student housing communities, located all across the U.S. The communities embrace a flat rate concept that has proven to be very attractive to college students and parents. Each Grove resident gains a private bedroom and bathroom, common space that includes a kitchen, and access to all of the community amenities: resort-style pool, volleyball court, fire pit, 24-hour gym, free tanning, coffee bar, study lounge, and game room." They're also apparently big on social events and allowing roommate matching. Click around on their GoGrove site and check out the videos!

Moving on…

University Village is a project that isn't technically student housing but you'd have to be a little dense to think that students wouldn't try to live there considering its proximity to campus. Technically listed at 555 NW Spanish River Blvd (GoogleMaps can't find it and puts it at NE Spanish River, which is obviously wrong), this project is listed as "planned mobility" as a 77.16 acre "Single-Family Residential District" and should be located east of the current FAU fish farm/future Spanish River I-95† exit stop. The general idea there is actually to create space for young professionals so they can walk/bike/use public transportation to get to their jobs either around FAU or over by the T-Rex/Boca Corporate Center just east of the Spanish River Library. It should have housing, retail and office space though it did face opposition ("not in my backyard", aka NIMBY complaints) from the residents of the single-family homes next door. I believe that project is moving forward regardless and I'm curious to see what sort of FAU influence will end up in that space. I maintain that student housing is a sure bet there - think of how many FAU student live in Vistazo which certainly wasn't built for students - so we'll see what transpires.

It's hard to get access to the University Park site but it looks like the industrial plant has been leveled and they're starting the site work there. Fall 2014 is still a very possible opening date at this point. As it progresses I'll get you some pictures. The tenants of the shopping plazas across (east) of the University Park development should see some more business with students there… La Fajitas, tattoos, diner, I think there's a bike shop and a gym over there… the only problem is that train tracks run right past there, so I'm 99% sure there won't be an opening in the fence around the complex and students will have to come out to 20th and back up Dixie to shop there. But that's still not far.

That's it for known student housing projects on the table, though any apartment complex close to school could always fill up with students even if they're not priced for students. After all, Vistazo and Mizner Park certainly aren't "within college student budgets" and FAU students still live there.

There's a proposal for La Vida Apartments, a 3-story, 11-unit apartment building on 280 NW 20th Street. It's SE of Addison Park, that old decrepit house next to the Busy Bees Academy of Learning. That puts it in prime University Blvd/FAU student housing area.

Then there's the upcoming Midtown at Town Center project at 21046 Commercial Trail by the Boca Mall. The developer wants to build an eight story tall building there with 649 multifamily units, over a thousand car parking garage and retail space include restaurant downstairs. That puts you right next to Boca Mall, Moes/Laspadas/Hooters, the bowling alley… whoops, I think this is the project that's going to take over our only bowling alley - which is not cool. At least you'd be five minutes from campus and be able to enjoy some of the other amenities. According to the website, "Midtown at Town Center is anticipated to be one of the most exciting development projects introduced to Boca Raton in the last twenty years – combining high-end retail, a boutique hotel, restaurants, banks, office and residential space – all in an unmatched location showcasing the best that South Florida has to offer."

Although Midtown doesn't technically count as student housing - they may even go out of their way to say that with "high-end" and "boutique" in the description - I can't underscore the importance of having more student housing being built near campus. Students want to live near campus without living on campus itself, especially in the upperclassmen years. This is a natural part of FAU's evolution.

EDIT (9/1/13 at 11:30pm - thanks Skippy)

Here's another awesome tidbit related to this blog but not Student Housing:

A developer has requested something called Premier Park for 3300 Airport Road, an area currently owned by Premier Aviation between Cinemark (3200 Airport Road) and City Funiture (3350 Airport Road). Here's the video to see renderings and here's a site plan but essentially what they want to do is a phased development that would bring in retail and office space as well as (more important for us) a Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery next to an iFLY indoor skydiving centersomething that was in my top three suggestions for that very space back in 2012.

The Tilted Kilt is a sports bar that, at least on the surface, seems like Hooters with kilts. I'm all for that. Excited about the prospect, especially since there are a lot of times when you're doing a night out at Cinemark and you'd kinda like to meet up somewhere with your group to eat first.

And hey, it makes sense to put a restaurant touting beautiful "kilt girls" right next to a university ranked in the Top 10 for hottest girls in the nation.

This town's a'changin' - are you ready for it?


About This Blog: Development news and ideas for FAU and Boca Raton including campus updates and photos! NOTE: I am not a journalist. I do not work for FAU. The opinions expressed herein are not the opinions of Florida Atlantic University or their affiliates. They are merely public opinion based upon the best information I can find. All attempts will be made to give credit to original copyright holders where applicable.