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New Development on the University of Houston Campus

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Yea I have to agree, that has the potential to be an ugly building and it does not resemeble the rendering that's in the MasterPlan powerpoint presentation. http://www.uh.edu/about/initiatives/masterplan/. Plus not sure if I heard it here but as I understand it, UH is going the cheap route on buliding the structure. I just hope everything turns out great.

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I agree it's super ugly, but it's supposed to be made of brick and limestone, which you cant tell from the rendering-- so maybe it'll turn out better than it looks. I think the point is just to get more kids on campus as fast (and as cheap) as possible and not worry about the looks for now.

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Also, this is a FRESHMEN dorm. Aesthetics just aren't as important... the number one concern is that it's tough (FORD tough lol). Freshmen abuse everything, so a nice spacious set of lofts is probably not the best idea in the first place.

BTW, has anyone noticed that all of UH's new construction projects are Neo-Brutalist??? Talk about bleh.

Edited by totheskies

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Also, this is a FRESHMEN dorm. Aesthetics just aren't as important... the number one concern is that it's tough (FORD tough lol). Freshmen abuse everything, so a nice spacious set of lofts is probably not the best idea in the first place.

BTW, has anyone noticed that all of UH's new construction projects are Neo-Brutalist??? Talk about bleh.

Ok you all sold me... hey they are freshmen. Just get them in there and they will be ok.

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Ok you all sold me... hey they are freshmen. Just get them in there and they will be ok.

Exactly. Just think of it as "Character growth" experiences.

There is something about youth that going through a "tough" time makes it a badge of honor, and to a lesser extent, a culling of the herd.

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Just re-read the announcement and it is 43 acres purchase. So 593 acres. Yes! Now I just hope we can create something where students want to live and hang around campus instead of commuting.

Looks like UH is closing on the property across Spur 5 soon. So that's approximately 70 more acres to add to the 593. Also Dr. Khator has big plans for the new acquisition.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20602099&sid=arwz0pgUIgbw

Great news.

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Here are a few new shots of development around campus done a few days ago:

The East Parking Garage. It's gone up quite quick. The lot in front of the garage is open for Calhoun Lofts residents, which are now moving in across the street.

3824366606_411d5aec3b_b.jpg

The floor plan layout for the new Barnes & Noble bookstore that will occupy retail space at the bottom of Calhoun Lofts. They have this lying in the window. Other retail occupants will be an Aramark-operated convenient store, and a dry cleaner. I have no idea when these will open.

3824366534_436e0b9b8a_b.jpg

Finally, a sign on Wheeler Street detailing some information about the new "Freshman Village" or "Wheeler Housing East" project. There hasn't been any part of the structure built yet, but demolition of the previous area has been finished I think.

3823566539_4cdfd00543_b.jpg

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As of last week the undergrad (ie floors 2-5) furnished efficiencies were all gone at Calhoun Lofts. They didn't say how many of them were undergrad furnished efficiencies to begin with.

The "utilities package" includes the first $25 of electricity. The remaining $320/mo. (for an efficiency) is for water, heating, and AT&T U-verse.

Parking in the new garage will be in the mid-$200 range...they said they do not know yet. Residents of Calhoun Lofts are pre-allotted a # of parking spaces in the new garage.

They want 12-month leases, which makes it not really like the typical "on campus housing" setup and more like an off-campus private dorm. Usually, at most places, it is done by semester.

The rooms are very nice...for a few hundred $ more per month than you'd pay to live at Cougar Place you get a significantly nicer setup.

Edited by N Judah

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They want 12-month leases, which makes it not really like the typical "on campus housing" setup and more like an off-campus private dorm. Usually, at most places, it is done by semester.

That's the plan. Twelve month leases will allow the community at UH to remain bustling during the summer time, etc. If UH isn't going to be just about going to class, then it shouldn't die just because classes have let up.

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That's the plan. Twelve month leases will allow the community at UH to remain bustling during the summer time, etc. If UH isn't going to be just about going to class, then it shouldn't die just because classes have let up.

No, I think it's about money. Other schools with bustling campus communities and on-campus housing don't make you pay for 12 months at a time. You can't make a "community" by trapping people into a lease. If it were that easy that goal would have already been achieved by the private dorms a block from campus.

Edited by N Judah

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No, I think it's about money. Other schools with bustling campus communities and on-campus housing don't make you pay for 12 months at a time. You can't make a "community" by trapping people into a lease. If it were that easy that goal would have already been achieved by the private dorms a block from campus.

What trap are you talking about? No one is forcing people to live there. Also, what private dorms are you talking about? If you're referring to Cambridge Oaks, Bayou Oaks, and Cullen Oaks, there is no requirement for twelve month leases there either.

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What trap are you talking about? No one is forcing people to live there. Also, what private dorms are you talking about? If you're referring to Cambridge Oaks, Bayou Oaks, and Cullen Oaks, there is no requirement for twelve month leases there either.

Having to pay for a 12-month lease when you only intend to live there for the schoolyear (or just for a semester) is not going to foster "community." I don't know what would make anyone think that.

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Having to pay for a 12-month lease when you only intend to live there for the schoolyear (or just for a semester) is not going to foster "community." I don't know what would make anyone think that.

Why would someone sign a 12-month lease if they only intend to live there for the school year? It's obviously for those who wish to stay here year-round. If that's not what the person is looking for, then there are plenty of other places to live. Calhoun Lofts is not meant for those who wish to go home to parents in the summer, but to those who are off on their own, and would rather stay where they are at after the school year ends.

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Why would someone sign a 12-month lease if they only intend to live there for the school year?

You can't think of any reasons? Anyway, I think a significant portion of the people who live there will leave for the summer. U of H is hellish during the summer.

It's obviously for those who wish to stay here year-round. If that's not what the person is looking for, then there are plenty of other places to live. Calhoun Lofts is not meant for those who wish to go home to parents in the summer, but to those who are off on their own, and would rather stay where they are at after the school year ends.

Again, I haven't seen that particular setup at any other school's on-campus housing. That was my initial point. It is less like the typical "on campus housing" setup and more like an off-campus private dorm. If, as you've said, this is their way of fostering a "bustling community" I'm not sure what precedent exists.

Edited by N Judah

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You can't think of any reasons? Anyway, I think a significant portion of the people who live there will leave for the summer. U of H is hellish during the summer.

No, I can't unless the student has ill-planned their housing. There are other places to live on-campus that don't require a twelve-month lease, and others that don't offer the option. The reason why UH is "hellish" is because everyone leaves. It's a catch-22.

Again, I haven't seen that particular setup at any other school's on-campus housing. That was my initial point. It is less like the typical "on campus housing" setup and more like an off-campus private dorm. If, as you've said, this is their way of fostering a "bustling community" I'm not sure what precedent exists.

Most other universities typically have off-campus residential areas that are purely student-living communities. UH doesn't have that because it's surrounded by Third Ward, and those who like to stay in one spot after the school year ends are mostly living off-campus in the Medical Center or Midtown. Therefore there is a precedent on other campuses, because at other large campuses, there isn't such a difference between the surrounding off-campus area, and on-campus area like there is here.

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I think it's a good idea to have a 12-month option. Some students want to stay and do research/writing, especially graduate students. It's very disruptive to be told you have to leave during the semester break or the summer. And as the previous poster said, if you don't want a 12-month lease, choose a different place to live.

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The reason why UH is "hellish" is because everyone leaves. It's a catch-22.

Er...and so you're saying that everyone leaves because of a lack of available summer housing? And it is your opinion that the absence of people around is then what makes it "hellish" ?

Most other universities typically have off-campus residential areas that are purely student-living communities. UH doesn't have that because it's surrounded by Third Ward, and those who like to stay in one spot after the school year ends are mostly living off-campus in the Medical Center or Midtown. Therefore there is a precedent on other campuses, because at other large campuses, there isn't such a difference between the surrounding off-campus area, and on-campus area like there is here.

That makes no sense at all. Other schools have dorms, which are on-campus (ie owned by the university), and either you leave in December, or May, or you pay to stay another three months. If you want to live off campus you live in an off-campus apartment, which typically has a yearlong lease, which is what these on-campus lofts are most like. That is what I'm saying.

I think it's a good idea to have a 12-month option. Some students want to stay and do research/writing, especially graduate students. It's very disruptive to be told you have to leave during the semester break or the summer. And as the previous poster said, if you don't want a 12-month lease, choose a different place to live.

Private dorms located a block from campus offer the 10- or 12-month "option." So do private apartments, except it's typically the opposite -- they do not give you the "option" to only stay for the schoolyear. This particular (private apartment) setup is what this particular dorm setup most closely resembles. This is neither bad nor good from my perspective (unless they have trouble filling the dorm, in which case it is definitely a bad waste of university space and resources). I have no idea why somebody would take this viewpoint as a personal affront. Perhaps if less such people attended U of H it would not be so "hellish" and have more of a "bustling community."

Edited by N Judah

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As of last week the undergrad (ie floors 2-5) furnished efficiencies were all gone at Calhoun Lofts. They didn't say how many of them were undergrad furnished efficiencies to begin with.

What? Could it be that UH knows the demand for on-campus housing better than the HAIF experts? ;-)

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What? Could it be that UH knows the demand for on-campus housing better than the HAIF experts? ;-)

Well I forgot to mention that they did lower the prices. I do not remember what the original prices were, only that they were lowered.

Also I was under the impression that unfurnished efficiencies and furnished/unfurnished one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms were available for undergrads, and all types of units were still available for grad students (ie above the 5th floor or whatever the cutoff is). They had some kind of map with unavailable units crossed out and it was definitely not sold out.

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They had some kind of map with unavailable units crossed out and it was definitely not sold out.

Unless the clown behind the counter forgot to cross them out.

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Unless the clown behind the counter forgot to cross them out.

Maybe, but I am almost positive this was the map they were using to determine which unit to list on the contract.

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Where are the trees? Adding them can make it more walkable, especially during the summer months.

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Hrm... Well then someone over there is fibbing.

Sorry, I meant to say "the entire building is definitely not sold out" (just in case anyone might have been thinking that). I wasn't referring to undergrad furnished efficiencies in particular.

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Well I forgot to mention that they did lower the prices. I do not remember what the original prices were, only that they were lowered.

What is the price now?

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I don't remember off the top of my head...I think per month the unfurnished efficiency was ~810-ish and the furnished efficiency was ~835-ish? I don't know. They'd probably tell you if you called them up -- who knows, maybe the prices are even lower by now.

Also, the first X people to sign up get free laundry or something like that, but they made it seem like they were extremely close to signing up that X amount of people. Also, though the web site says "move-in special" I was told that, in fact, there is no move-in special.

Alright that's about all I remember about these dorms. They have a rooftop deck with a panoramic view of downtown. If I were a 1L who intended to do a summer associate-ship downtown these dorms would be the obvious choice. But as far as fostering a "bustling community" I really don't think this is the way to do it. In the end the LRT will have more of an effect than anything.

Edit: Actually, I don't think the efficiencies had lowered prices, but it was the other units (1-bdrm, 2-bdrm) that had the lowered prices.

Edited by N Judah

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I don't remember off the top of my head...I think per month the unfurnished efficiency was ~810-ish and the furnished efficiency was ~835-ish? I don't know. They'd probably tell you if you called them up -- who knows, maybe the prices are even lower by now.

Also, the first X people to sign up get free laundry or something like that, but they made it seem like they were extremely close to signing up that X amount of people. Also, though the web site says "move-in special" I was told that, in fact, there is no move-in special.

Alright that's about all I remember about these dorms. They have a rooftop deck with a panoramic view of downtown. If I were a 1L who intended to do a summer associate-ship downtown these dorms would be the obvious choice. But as far as fostering a "bustling community" I really don't think this is the way to do it. In the end the LRT will have more of an effect than anything.

Edit: Actually, I don't think the efficiencies had lowered prices, but it was the other units (1-bdrm, 2-bdrm) that had the lowered prices.

Earlier in this thread, we were told units there would start at about $800, so it doesn't seem they've dropped the price. Thanks for the edit, but after this post, it's pretty clear you don't really know terribly much about their pricing. ;-) Further occupancy and pricing reports will be interesting, but so far, I stand by my statement that it appears UH may actually know more about student housing demand than the resident "experts" at HAIF.

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Earlier in this thread, we were told units there would start at about $800, so it doesn't seem they've dropped the price. Thanks for the edit, but after this post, it's pretty clear you don't really know terribly much about their pricing. ;-)

Well I only know what they told me on the tour, and I have done my best to relay that information here. Having said that, I'm glad you appreciate the edit (which occurred long before you posted your reply) -- and in all seriousness, as soon as you figure out how to use a phone, you can even call them up and ask them for the pricing yourself ;-)

Further occupancy and pricing reports will be interesting, but so far, I stand by my statement that it appears UH may actually know more about student housing demand than the resident "experts" at HAIF.

You might be right -- but the fact is that they did run out of undergrad furnished efficiencies when demand still existed (a calculated move?). But the truth is that sometimes knowing more than a bunch of random people on a website just isn't enough.

Edited by N Judah
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Article about Calhoun Lofts in today's Chron --

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/metropolitan/6582504.html

If you build it, will they come?

UH opens luxury lofts in a bid to change its commuter culture

By JEANNIE KEVER

HOUSTON CHRONICLE

Aug. 21, 2009, 9:32PM

Sean Conklin nodded in satisfaction as he surveyed his new home — sealed concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows and space for the essentials.

“A bed, a table to study on and a computer,” he said. “That's pretty much it.”

Conklin, 25, a graduate student studying mechanical engineering, wanted a quiet space to study, something he didn't have at his family home in Kingwood, where he lived as an undergraduate.

But in choosing Calhoun Lofts, a sophisticated new student apartment building at the University of Houston, he also joined an ambitious effort to change the campus culture.

Its success remains to be seen: The $107 million project, which opened just in time for students to begin classes Monday, is slightly more than half full, even as construction begins on a $50 million, 1,000-bed traditional dormitory for undergraduates. Originally intended just for graduate students, Calhoun Lofts was opened to undergraduates when leasing lagged, and UH Chancellor Renu Khator said vacant apartments will be offered to students from other Houston universities, medical and law schools, as well.

Edited by N Judah
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An article in the Daily Cougar:

The Daily Cougar

$107.8M lofts open to residents

By Hal Allen

Print this article

Share this article Published: Monday, August 24, 2009

Updated: Sunday, August 23, 2009

Yvette Davila/The Daily Cougar

Members of the UH Board of Regents, UH President Renu Khator and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, officially open the doors of Calhoun Lofts.

Calhoun Lofts opened its doors Aug. 5 with a ceremony that featured speeches by UH President Renu Khator and Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Houston.

When addressing the crowd, Khator said Calhoun Lofts and the freshman residence hall, which is under construction, was going to take UH to the level of a flagship university.

“One of the things of a tier one university is the residential experience for students,” she said. “That gives student a comprehensive environment.”

Khator said the lofts will help the University remove its commuter school label by attracting students who would otherwise live off campus.

http://www.thedailycougar.com/107-8m-lofts-open-to-residents-1.1819269

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Exerpts from the Daily Cougar article:

When addressing the crowd, Khator said Calhoun Lofts and the freshman residence hall, which is under construction, was going to take UH to the level of a flagship university.

That's pretty insulting to their faculty. What is a flagship university, anyway?

The lofts were built with the intention of housing graduate and professional students. After facing severe challenges with marketing, as the lofts' occupancy rate is slightly more than 50 percent, UH decided to open the lofts to upper classmen, faculty and staff. Khator told the Houston Chronicle that students from other academic institutions in the area will also be allowed to rent vacant lofts.

As predicted, they didn't understand their market. This would never have happened had a private-sector entity taken on the project.

In Nov. 2006 The Board of Regents, under former UH President Jay Gogue, approved construction of the lofts. At that time, the cost of building the lofts was estimated at $99 million.

Pepper-Lawson Construction began building Calhoun Lofts in Aug. 2007, and additional costs arose during the nearly two-year construction process. According to a UH Aug. 11, 2009 document that reports the status of campus projects, the building’s final cost was $107.8 million.

What!? Overbudget? Nah, it's a large government bureaucracy. That could never happen. The bean-counters must've screwed up the calculation of the final cost.

From the Chronicle article:

Its success remains to be seen: The $107 million project, which opened just in time for students to begin classes Monday, is slightly more than half full, even as construction begins on a $50 million, 1,000-bed traditional dormitory for undergraduates. Originally intended just for graduate students, Calhoun Lofts was opened to undergraduates when leasing lagged, and UH Chancellor Renu Khator said vacant apartments will be offered to students from other Houston universities, medical and law schools, as well.

When market share proves grossly inadequate, quintuple the size of your target market.

“It's luxury student housing,” the chancellor said. “That's OK. If we're going to have 9,000 students living on campus, there's a place for it.”

Do we going to have 9,000 students living on campus? No. Then is it possible that there is in fact not presently a place for it?

Students who live on campus are more likely to stay in school and have higher graduation rates. “They participate in more things,” said Elwyn Lee, vice chancellor/vice president for student affairs at UH. “If you have to drive from Katy to hear a speaker, you might not do it. If you just have to roll out of bed and walk across campus, you probably will.”

This is the only reasonable argument that I've encountered about how dorms help a university. Having said that, there are plenty of options for more affordable housing that are closer to UH than Katy is. I just signed a lease with roommates (one foreign Ph.D. candidate, one gay undergrad), and we're paying less than half of what they'd charge at the Calhoun Lofts, and its only about a half-mile from the UH campus, and we're pretty much free to do our own thing without UH being involved. I'd argue that Affordability + Convenience + Freedom + Diversity --> Neo-traditional college experience. Who wants to be cooped up in an academic monoculture, anyways?

Houston19514, I declare victory.

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Demolishing Cougar Place will help create demand for these new lofts. I overheard a couple of maintenance dudes talking about how structurally unsound Cougar Place was and how the school had to spend money recently to patch it up. Eventually Cougar Place will be torn down for a tailgate plaza and the Robertson LRT entrance. This is a decent investment in "school spirit" and it can be worth it, in a city teeming with UH alums, to keep the school connection going. They should sell the stadium out every time (even in bad years). Making a better/more accommodating football game experience will help.

In addition, the plan is to increase the # of grad students over the next several years, which will create demand for Calhoun Lofts.

The $107 million project, which opened just in time for students to begin classes Monday, is slightly more than half full, even as construction begins on a $50 million, 1,000-bed traditional dormitory for undergraduates. Originally intended just for graduate students, Calhoun Lofts was opened to undergraduates when leasing lagged, and UH Chancellor Renu Khator said vacant apartments will be offered to students from other Houston universities, medical and law schools, as well.

This reinforces the point I made earlier in the thread that it's all about the $$. Instead of coming up with more enticing lease agreements and/or dropping the price to entice more actual U of H students they decided they would rather have students from other schools. In this way they choose cash flow over "bustling community." Interestingly, they will have to make these kinds of concessions anyway once the LRT comes through and students have more options. Would a student rather have a straight shot < 10-minute LRT commute to midtown at $1.30-$1.50 per square foot or live on campus for ~1.5x the price?

Edited by N Judah

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I figured it was about time for an update. Here's a shot of the construction along Wheeler for the new "Freshman Village" or "Wheeler Housing East".

3972599990_aa94e99c2b_b.jpg

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Exerpts from the Daily Cougar article:

That's pretty insulting to their faculty. What is a flagship university, anyway?

As predicted, they didn't understand their market. This would never have happened had a private-sector entity taken on the project.

What!? Overbudget? Nah, it's a large government bureaucracy. That could never happen. The bean-counters must've screwed up the calculation of the final cost.

From the Chronicle article:

When market share proves grossly inadequate, quintuple the size of your target market.

Do we going to have 9,000 students living on campus? No. Then is it possible that there is in fact not presently a place for it?

This is the only reasonable argument that I've encountered about how dorms help a university. Having said that, there are plenty of options for more affordable housing that are closer to UH than Katy is. I just signed a lease with roommates (one foreign Ph.D. candidate, one gay undergrad), and we're paying less than half of what they'd charge at the Calhoun Lofts, and its only about a half-mile from the UH campus, and we're pretty much free to do our own thing without UH being involved. I'd argue that Affordability + Convenience + Freedom + Diversity --> Neo-traditional college experience. Who wants to be cooped up in an academic monoculture, anyways?

Houston19514, I declare victory.

As is so often the case, Niche, you are a little too eager to declare victory. (and doesn't it seem odd that victory for you always involves a project's failure?) The building JUST opened. They are trying to transform the university. Give it a little time.

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As is so often the case, Niche, you are a little too eager to declare victory. (and doesn't it seem odd that victory for you always involves a project's failure?) The building JUST opened. They are trying to transform the university. Give it a little time.

The first year of operations proves the equilibrium level of demand. It seems exceedingly clear to me, given the evidence, that they were over optimisitc going into it. I'm sure that they'll fill it up (by some means) but that doesn't mean that they were even remotely close to meeting their pro formed numbers.

UH will be able to transform itself, and there will be (future tense) a place for the Calhoun Lofts as part of the mix; I'm pretty confident about that. But they need to be more cautious and not get ahead of themselves.

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Exerpts from the Daily Cougar article:

That's pretty insulting to their faculty. What is a flagship university, anyway?

As predicted, they didn't understand their market. This would never have happened had a private-sector entity taken on the project.

What!? Overbudget? Nah, it's a large government bureaucracy. That could never happen. The bean-counters must've screwed up the calculation of the final cost.

From the Chronicle article:

When market share proves grossly inadequate, quintuple the size of your target market.

Do we going to have 9,000 students living on campus? No. Then is it possible that there is in fact not presently a place for it?

This is the only reasonable argument that I've encountered about how dorms help a university. Having said that, there are plenty of options for more affordable housing that are closer to UH than Katy is. I just signed a lease with roommates (one foreign Ph.D. candidate, one gay undergrad), and we're paying less than half of what they'd charge at the Calhoun Lofts, and its only about a half-mile from the UH campus, and we're pretty much free to do our own thing without UH being involved. I'd argue that Affordability + Convenience + Freedom + Diversity --> Neo-traditional college experience. Who wants to be cooped up in an academic monoculture, anyways?

Houston19514, I declare victory.

Yeah, so all of this...

It's apparent that UofH stuck their neck out a bit with Calhoun Lofts... it was "impractical". But UH is trying to fit the mold of other Tier One universities... in order to do that, they've got to look like one, and be able to attract the same students that the others have. So in totality Calhoun Lofts hasn't "paid off yet", but it is doing is serving as a showpiece for students when they tour the campus. It's a comparable living space to things like you would see at Rice, UT, Indiana or a host of other top tier schools. Regardless of whether or not they live there, many top-tier students will be expecting UH to have top tier living and working facilities. So I for one am glad they took the risk.

However, if I were Renu, I would have built the underclassmen dorm first to meet the surging demand for freshmen residential housing, then made Calhoun Lofts the next big project. Moody Towers and the Quads are filled to capacity again this fall, and more and more UH applicants want to live on campus. We are quickly transitioning to a residential school based on student demand. But for most students, Calhoun Lofts is going to be a bit out of their price range, and they would prefer a more traditional dorm.

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Demolishing Cougar Place will help create demand for these new lofts. I overheard a couple of maintenance dudes talking about how structurally unsound Cougar Place was and how the school had to spend money recently to patch it up. Eventually Cougar Place will be torn down for a tailgate plaza and the Robertson LRT entrance. This is a decent investment in "school spirit" and it can be worth it, in a city teeming with UH alums, to keep the school connection going. They should sell the stadium out every time (even in bad years). Making a better/more accommodating football game experience will help.

In addition, the plan is to increase the # of grad students over the next several years, which will create demand for Calhoun Lofts.

Yeah, Cougar Place is hurting the university big time. They've "shut down" some of the buildings that are unsuitable for living right now, and it's over a quarter of the complex that's not being used. So while Moody Towers is filled to the brim, they don't have a place to put overflow students.

This reinforces the point I made earlier in the thread that it's all about the $$. Instead of coming up with more enticing lease agreements and/or dropping the price to entice more actual U of H students they decided they would rather have students from other schools. In this way they choose cash flow over "bustling community." Interestingly, they will have to make these kinds of concessions anyway once the LRT comes through and students have more options. Would a student rather have a straight shot < 10-minute LRT commute to midtown at $1.30-$1.50 per square foot or live on campus for ~1.5x the price?

Yes and no... depends on how "selective" they're being about their residents. They are trying to foster a true Scholars and research community with Calhoun Lofts. So if they're attracting the right types of students from other schools, it could end up being a very good thing. If not, then UofH is doing a disservice to it's students by not lowering the price.

I think LRT is going to change this whole area dramatically. The Southeast Line (you know... one of the ones that is actually under construction right now) is going to link UofH, EaDo and downtown. So not only will Calhoun Lofts be competing with Montrose and Midtown to retain student population, it will also be competing with the East End as it transforms into the new "hot area" for the city. This is part of the problem that UH faces... when you're in the middle of a city as huge and diverse as Houston, there's very little incentive for anyone to want to live on campus. So UH has to remake itself into a "live, work and play" destination as well.

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I did a thought experiment and concluded that if I were a high school student, Calhoun Lofts would not entice me to attend U of H. However, a new engineering building/quad, imho, would be much more appealing.

I am very suspicious of a "Scholars and research community" the only barrier to entry being the ability to afford to live there. 12 month leases make me very certain that it is all about the cash flow. I heard from a guy who lives there that the university leases the land out to a private company that built and runs the dorms. This makes sense, as they do not operate through the Housing and Dining Office but from somewhere within Calhoun Lofts.

I think LRT is going to change this whole area dramatically. The Southeast Line (you know... one of the ones that is actually under construction right now) is going to link UofH, EaDo and downtown. So not only will Calhoun Lofts be competing with Montrose and Midtown to retain student population, it will also be competing with the East End as it transforms into the new "hot area" for the city. This is part of the problem that UH faces... when you're in the middle of a city as huge and diverse as Houston, there's very little incentive for anyone to want to live on campus. So UH has to remake itself into a "live, work and play" destination as well.

By default there will always be people who prefer to live, work, and play on campus. The trick is to not go out of your way to drive them off.

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Is that a faculty lot, or are today's students better off than we were at UH?

Thats the Quad student lot.

I've seen Lambo's in the economy lot.

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By default there will always be people who prefer to live, work, and play on campus. The trick is to not go out of your way to drive them off.

Yes, of course, and there will always be students (regardless of income level) that will refuse to live on campus. But the proportion of students that want to live on campus is on the rise, and it's due tremendously to the fact that the campus is becoming more livable. The Cougar Den has alone has added a lot more vitality to the south end.

I did a thought experiment and concluded that if I were a high school student, Calhoun Lofts would not entice me to attend U of H. However, a new engineering building/quad, imho, would be much more appealing.

I am very suspicious of a "Scholars and research community" the only barrier to entry being the ability to afford to live there. 12 month leases make me very certain that it is all about the cash flow. I heard from a guy who lives there that the university leases the land out to a private company that built and runs the dorms. This makes sense, as they do not operate through the Housing and Dining Office but from somewhere within Calhoun Lofts.

Same business model that they have with Cullen Oaks and Bayou Oaks, only they are cheaper and have the goal of being less selective. But I do agree... the prices for these places are kinda ridiculous. I added up all my "living bills" including the gym membership and it's still under only 750/month with electricity, cable/internet, cell phone (no home phone here) and gas, and I live very close to campus. As long as students can find a good deal in places like Montrose and Eastwood, or just lease a townhome and have 4 guys or girls pile in there, Calhoun Lofts won't be nearly as competitive as it could be.

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Yes, of course, and there will always be students (regardless of income level) that will refuse to live on campus. But the proportion of students that want to live on campus is on the rise, and it's due tremendously to the fact that the campus is becoming more livable. The Cougar Den has alone has added a lot more vitality to the south end.

I think the proportion of students that want to live on campus is on the rise, but there was always a baseline contingent that has been, and still is, underserved. Irrespective of whatever amenities they build the fact is that they still have not gotten the housing thing right.

Same business model that they have with Cullen Oaks and Bayou Oaks, only they are cheaper and have the goal of being less selective.

If that's the case then Calhoun Lofts should have been built off-campus. The university should not be leasing prime land on-campus to private dorm companies, irrespective of how "selective" these dorms are supposed to be. And how can private dorms afford to be "selective"? These lofts must have gotten a great deal on the land lease if they are able to sit there half-empty without any price reductions or amenities of any sort (ie the nonexistent grocery store).

But I do agree... the prices for these places are kinda ridiculous. I added up all my "living bills" including the gym membership and it's still under only 750/month with electricity, cable/internet, cell phone (no home phone here) and gas, and I live very close to campus. As long as students can find a good deal in places like Montrose and Eastwood, or just lease a townhome and have 4 guys or girls pile in there, Calhoun Lofts won't be nearly as competitive as it could be.

I personally doubt the university is really interested in creating "learning communities." Like "Tier 1" it's just a buzzword they must have picked up somewhere and like "Tier 1" the phrase "learning communities" is just meaningless enough to take to mean whatever they want. So anything they build from here on out, no matter how overly expensive or how much they give up to for-profit corporations, will be categorized as being "Tier 1" or "scholar research community"-based irrespective of reality.

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I did a thought experiment and concluded that if I were a high school student, Calhoun Lofts would not entice me to attend U of H. However, a new engineering building/quad, imho, would be much more appealing.

What?? You've GOT to be kidding me. You think a high school student would be more interested in an a new engineering building over where they'll be living on-campus? Students want exciting, new places to live.

Also, I don't believe that Calhoun Lofts is the same business model as Cullen Oaks, Bayou Oaks, and Cambridge Oaks. Calhoun Lofts is physically owned by the university, not just the land its on. It's possible that they're doing some contracting for management, but that'd be it. The store is currently under construction as well.

I personally doubt the university is really interested in creating "learning communities." Like "Tier 1" it's just a buzzword they must have picked up somewhere and like "Tier 1" the phrase "learning communities" is just meaningless enough to take to mean whatever they want. So anything they build from here on out, no matter how overly expensive or how much they give up to for-profit corporations, will be categorized as being "Tier 1" or "scholar research community"-based irrespective of reality.

So I'm guessing there is no real road plan for Tier I either. UH is condemned to be a crap school because they don't care about their students or about their education. It's all just a made-up little conspiracy to allow for administrators to line their own pockets and beat their chests about how much they've ripped-off the community. Is it that, or is your opinion of the administration is that they're wholly incompetent. What IS reality to you?

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What?? You've GOT to be kidding me. You think a high school student would be more interested in an a new engineering building over where they'll be living on-campus? Students want exciting, new places to live.

Most students don't live on campus, so yeah, I think a new engineering building would be more enticing to the typical student.

Also, I don't believe that Calhoun Lofts is the same business model as Cullen Oaks, Bayou Oaks, and Cambridge Oaks. Calhoun Lofts is physically owned by the university, not just the land its on. It's possible that they're doing some contracting for management, but that'd be it. The store is currently under construction as well.

Well in that case it goes back to what I was saying earlier...it really does seem to be all about the cash flow, since the only "selective" thing about these dorms would be the price.

So I'm guessing there is no real road plan for Tier I either. UH is condemned to be a crap school because they don't care about their students or about their education. It's all just a made-up little conspiracy to allow for administrators to line their own pockets and beat their chests about how much they've ripped-off the community. Is it that, or is your opinion of the administration is that they're wholly incompetent. What IS reality to you?

You might be exaggerating my position just a little bit. What I'm saying is that I think someone somewhere found the phrase "Tier 1" years after it was effectively rendered meaningless and now they bandy it about whenever they want something. The other day I got an e-mail about "Cougar Sportsmanship" (along with everyone else on the general school mailing list) about the "letter of inquiry" C-USA sent to the school as a result of the students rushing the field after the football win against Texas Tech. It closes by encouraging the students to "make sure that we exhibit Tier One sportsmanship at all of our UH athletic events." So I think they can lay it on a little thick. My overall opinion is that the school is headed in the right direction but I'll believe it when I see it.

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I think the proportion of students that want to live on campus is on the rise, but there was always a baseline contingent that has been, and still is, underserved. Irrespective of whatever amenities they build the fact is that they still have not gotten the housing thing right.

I personally doubt the university is really interested in creating "learning communities." Like "Tier 1" it's just a buzzword they must have picked up somewhere and like "Tier 1" the phrase "learning communities" is just meaningless enough to take to mean whatever they want. So anything they build from here on out, no matter how overly expensive or how much they give up to for-profit corporations, will be categorized as being "Tier 1" or "scholar research community"-based irrespective of reality.

Please refer to this Dallas Metropolis thread... Tier One is a very real and physical initiative, eventhough we're not discussing on HAIF very much.

And again... elevating a school like UofH to Tier One status is a huge undertaking. It means that we eventually want UofH to be a direct competitor with schools like UT, Rice, A&M UofMichigan etc. It is within the Houston area, but what is the value of a UH degree once you leave Texas?? As Houstonians, we have a very practical side to our collective personality... practical almost to a fault. But doing something like this has very little to do with practicality and worrying about the present. We have to have spaces like Calhoun lofts to be competitive on the Tier One playing field. So I'm glad they built it. I'm also glad that it's sitting there half empty right now, because it lets UofH know that they are charging too much.

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Also, I don't believe that Calhoun Lofts is the same business model as Cullen Oaks, Bayou Oaks, and Cambridge Oaks. Calhoun Lofts is physically owned by the university, not just the land its on. It's possible that they're doing some contracting for management, but that'd be it. The store is currently under construction as well.

Yes, I was incorrect in that. It is owned by the university, but it is "separate" from RLH's other projects. Essentially, the university is copying the business model that they have observed from Cullen and Bayou Oaks, just keeping the operation in house (which is a dumb idea, unless they lower the prices).

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Please refer to this Dallas Metropolis thread... Tier One is a very real and physical initiative, eventhough we're not discussing on HAIF very much.

The initiative to make the school better is real (as it is for every school) but the phrase "Tier 1" has completely lost its original meaning and has come to mean whatever anybody wants it to mean. We have discussed this on HAIF before.

The latest definition has something to do with attracting venture capital to the area and they even assigned a per-year dollar amount needed to get to "Tier 1" (as if it were really that easy). And now being "Tier 1" can be about high-end living and sportsmanship, too.

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The initiative to make the school better is real (as it is for every school) but the phrase "Tier 1" has completely lost its original meaning and has come to mean whatever anybody wants it to mean. We have discussed this on HAIF before.

The latest definition has something to do with attracting venture capital to the area and they even assigned a per-year dollar amount needed to get to "Tier 1" (as if it were really that easy). And now being "Tier 1" can be about high-end living and sportsmanship, too.

And it's about attracting research funds and top researchers/faculty which is an extension of the venture capital. I think you are underestimating what becoming Tier 1 entails and the effect it would have.

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