Coastal Carolina University students have more housing options as they start moving in this month for the school year, with several privately built apartment complexes popping up to meet demand as the college continues to grow.
At least two new student housing communities are set to open this month in the Conway area, adding more than 250 apartment units for students wanting to live near campus. Officials say the additional units are needed to keep up with the university’s long-term growth.
“We saw an opportunity because Coastal Carolina University has grown in the last three years,” said Jourdan Manley, general manager for Monarch 544, one of the new complexes. “With [CCU’s] rapid growth and interest in retention, there’s a heavy need in the area for student housing. We saw that this year in leasing. We’re here to fill that need and provide to the community and college a different experience.”
About 8,832 students were enrolled at CCU for the fall as of Wednesday, with officials projecting that number to grow to 9,300. Last fall, 9,084 students were enrolled, up from 8,706 students in fall 2010, and 8,360 students in fall 2009. Classes start Aug. 20.
Because Coastal requires all freshmen and sophomore students to live on campus, the increased enrollment has left little space for upperclassmen to live in campus housing, according to university officials. There are 3,625 beds on campus with more than 9,000 students expected to enroll this fall, said Debbie Conner, CCU’s vice president for student affairs. The university plans to build four new residence halls on campus, but it will be 2015 before all of them are ready.
“We do not guarantee housing for upperclassmen, so housing apartments close to campus would be very popular,” Conner said. “There’s obviously a need there. The developer saw a need there and was able to build.”
Monarch 544, a 128-unit, 440-bed apartment complex off S.C. 544, and The Cove at Coastal Carolina, a 126-unit, 396-bedroom project also off S.C. 544, are set to open this month just in time for the start of classes. The Cove had its first students move in Friday, with the rest of the students moving in Aug.17. Monarch’s students will move in Aug.18.
Predominantly juniors and seniors will stay at The Cove, which is almost 90 percent full, and the Monarch, which expects to be full with a waiting list, according to officials with the student housing complexes. The demand, they said, is there with the growth of CCU’s student body.
Between fall 2001 and fall 2011, Coastal Carolina University’s enrollment grew 83 percent, according to CCU research officials.
Russell Broderick, vice president for Gilbane Development Co., The Cove’s developer, said the market needs more student housing developments with the university’s high enrollment and number of transfer students.
While Monarch and The Cove are opening in time for this school year, another student-focused housing project isn’t on track to be open this month as originally planned.
Construction started earlier this year on Coastal Estates, a gated 672-room development on U.S. 501, but Conway Planning Director Michael Leinwand said the department noticed a few months ago that construction had stopped. “There’s little activity out there,” Leinwand said.
It’s unclear why work has stopped. McKenzie Jordan, president of Chancel HRT, which is the general contractor on the project, did not return phone calls or respond to an email last week asking for details.
Even with construction stalled on that project, other student housing complexes that have been in the community for some time say there’s enough students to fill their units and the new ones.
“The demand definitely is still there,” said Kirsten Ulm, leasing and marketing manager for University Village at the Coast, a 437-unit apartment complex that has been near CCU for 10 years. As of Thursday, the complex was 89.9 percent full, with a more than 50 percent renewal rate this year, Ulm said.
She said there are not any concerns with the new developments coming in because University Village – which offers a yearly lease from Aug.17 to July 31 and a semester lease from Aug.17 to Dec.31 – charges lower rents for each bedroom than the new student housing complexes. The price for University Village’s three-bedroom, three-bath apartments is $410 to $425 a month.
Monarch, where leases run from Aug.18 to July 31, has four-bedrooms for $595 to $605 a month, with its two-bedrooms sold out. The Cove – which offers 12-month leases – has four-bedrooms, four-baths for $590 a month and two-bedrooms, two-baths for $675 a month, according to its website.
The growth of off-campus student housing is a positive sign for Conway, Mayor Alys Lawson said.
“The goal of the city council is to promote Conway as a college town,” she said. “We feel to have CCU and [Horry-Georgetown Technical College] in Conway is a bonus for our community. We’ve been working with both institutions to bridge the gap between the city and the campuses.
“I’m excited about the new housing developments. There’s a need for those housing developments. With them being adjacent to the university…it makes it a more livable community for the students.”
Contact JANELLE FROST at 443-2404.