Examining the value of luxury student apartments

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Campus Walk is one of three “luxury” student apartments on Nord Avenue. Photo credit: Jessie Imhoff

Three luxury apartment complexes sit on Nord Avenue and Walnut Street, proudly advertised as the height of student living. These apartments have different amenities that claim to cater to students’ needs, therefore making them the best living option for students on the market.

They also come at a much higher price than other apartment options in Chico, which begs the question: are they really all they claim to be? Is the higher cost for a tailored lifestyle worth it for students?

All locations are equipped with what they consider luxury amenities targeted toward students. While some amenities are aimed toward the bookish, grade-focused type, they also have amenities aimed toward the hard-partying, fun-loving demographic.

The Post has multiple study rooms, including a study center with Apple and PC products, as well as a poolside lounge and outdoor courtyards with fire pits. They appeal to the more social side of Chico students by holding various events each month, such as pizza parties and karaoke. They also have some educational events for students, such as resume building classes.

The Post’s website claims that “students who live in student-oriented housing get better grades.” This claim may be derived from a 2014 study that theoretically found evidence that students who live in dorms are more likely than students who live off-campus to get a G.P.A. of over 1.0.

Campus Walk has a computer lab and study room for those students focusing on grades, as well as an outdoor jumbo movie screen for more social affairs.

The Urban does not tout any designated study areas, instead focusing on fun amenities like a plunge pool/spa and arcade. Some units even have access to rooftop balconies and private decks.

The Urban also has amenities that highlight a luxurious lifestyle. Units come with a 50 inch smart TV, USB charging stations in each room, and a monthly maid service included in the rent. All of their units are two-story townhouses, meaning no one has upstairs or downstairs neighbors.

Both The Post and The Urban are pet-friendly, but neither say whether or not students would have to pay more for this.

While all these amenities are listed as a positives, they are only beneficial if they are used by students.

“I use the free printing and I usually stop in the front office for breakfast,” sophomore Kaitlyn Glavee said. This is her second year living in Campus Walk. “I only use the study room for the free air conditioning in the summer. The workout stuff is pretty terrible so no one ever uses it.”

Although the apartments advertise themselves as affordable options for students, they are some of the most expensive apartments available in all of Chico.

None of these apartments list their rent prices on their main websites, which is enough to arouse suspicions. Because of that, students have to do a bit more digging to find out how much they will pay before they move in.

The cheapest option for the Post is $650 per month for a student. This option is for sharing a room with another person in an apartment of six people. A single room in a six person apartment is about $850 per month.

Rent for Campus Walk is around $800 per month for a two bedroom, two bathroom unit. The bigger four bedroom four bathroom unit is $100 more.

Rent for The Urban, as listed on apartmenthomeliving.com, is between $815 and $835.

Other student-oriented housing is significantly more affordable. For example, The Timbers is listed at $1,050 for two students, or $525 each. They have similar amenities, such as a computer center and weekly resident activities. The Timbers is also around $400 cheaper than its luxury counterparts.

Rent at the luxury apartments also include different utilities, which many apartments in Chico require to be separate. At The Post, rent includes water, sewer, trash pickup, electricity, cable and internet. Campus Walk includes all utilities except electricity, which is $25 per person according to Glavee. The Urban includes internet, trash, and a monthly maid service in their rent, while electricity and gas are billed back to each resident.

All of the apartments offer individual leases, so students will not be responsible if their roommate does not pay rent for the month.

“My first year one bed spot was not leased out so it remained empty,” Glavee said. Her rent did not increase with one less roommate due to the individual leases.

Students looking to live at these luxury apartments have to make the decision of whether these amenities are worth the cost of living.

“Overall I’d say my experience has been positive with a few hiccups,” Glavee said.

Jessie Imhoff can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @JessieReports