By Raymond Arke | The Duquesne Duke
Adding another dimension to Duquesne’s current housing problems, a new student housing apartment complex, unaffiliated with the university, is being constructed on Fifth Avenue, just blocks away from campus.
The new housing structure, which will contain 94 bedrooms in 34 units, will be complete in time for the fall 2016 semester, according to the developing firm Cypress Partners. Undergraduate or graduate students can sign annual leases that cost between $725 per person to $895 per person, per month, according to the Cypress website. At Duquesne, students pay between $1,155 and $1,211 for a single bedroom in the living learning centers, and $1,085 per person, per month for an apartment in Brottier Hall.
This new development comes at a time when Duquesne is already struggling to fill its housing units as more juniors and seniors move off-campus, according to statements made by Vice President of Finance David Beaupre during an Oct. 20th meeting with faculty. There are currently more than 300 empty beds in campus dorms, which means an occupancy rate of 92 percent, compared to 98 percent in the spring of 2015.
Duquesne Assistant Director of Residence Life Dan Cangilla declined to comment on the new complex, except to emphasize that it is not affiliated with the university.
At 1030 Fifth Avenue, the new six-story apartment building is next to the Blue Line Grill and behind the Duquesne Power Center. According to Jeffrey Buck, one of the partners at Cypress, the firm bought the building for $3.1 million and began construction on December 1. Buck anticipates a quick turnaround, with construction completed by June 1. He also added that several Duquesne students have already signed leases for the fall.
“The response has been overwhelming,” Buck said. He added that there is “continued strong interest from students.”
The Union on Fifth will feature fully furnished apartments, and Buck reports that each unit will contain at least one private bathroom, a flat screen television, a clothes washer and dryer, memory foam mattresses on all beds, and a fully furnished kitchen with a refrigerator and oven.
The apartments range between two and three bedrooms with as many as three bathrooms per unit. The size of each living area will vary from 585 to 1,100 square feet.
Additionally, the apartment complex will have a video surveillance and entry system, that will allow residents to “buzz guests in at the front door,” Buck said.
“An electronic key system will be used by residents to enter the building and their respective unit and bedroom,” Buck said.
According to Buck, Cypress operates out of Detroit, Michigan. The company chose Pittsburgh for this project due to the many students from the Detroit region who attend Duquesne and because Mike Parks, another managing member of the firm, is married to a woman from the Pittsburgh area.
“We believe that Pittsburgh is a great place to do business,” Buck said.