New ‘upscale’ apartments target UD students, hospital staff

A new apartment project near the University of Dayton and Miami Valley Hospital is betting students and medical staff will want "upscale living" close to campus and hopes to compete with popular housing at the Greene Town Center, downtown and elsewhere in the region.

Many students want luxury apartments with modern amenities, and now most have to commute to find it, said Robert Fiorita, developer and managing member of New Village Communities.

But Fiorita said his company’s new $35-million Flight apartment project at 258 Wyoming St. will bring high-end units and accommodations right next door to the school and also serve hospital staff who work a block away.

Fiorita said some of the project’s investors include UD alumni who say they wish they had this kind of housing available when they were in college. “They understand there is a need for upscale student housing that’s close to campus,” he said.

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The first phase of the Flight project will cost about $35 million and will create about 109 units that are fully furnished, a pool, rooftop terrace, courtyards, a parking lot and a clubhouse with a fitness center, Wifi cafe, study room and other attractions, Fiorita said.

RE NVC Dayton II bought the property at auction, and New Village Communities is the parent company.

The new apartments will have balconies, granite kitchen counter tops, desks, dressers, chairs, couches, cocktail tables, beds and wall-mounted, flat-screen TVs, Fiorita said.

Some students enjoy living in UD’s student district immediately adjacent to campus, but Fiorita said there is likely a strong market of students who want more modern, comfortable and luxurious apartments very close to campus.

Students looking for a more upscale experience right now may be renting at the Greene or at other suburban apartment complexes, or might live in some of the urban lofts or housing downtown, Fiorita said.

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But students who rent in those places can’t get to classes on foot within minutes, and other housing options are isolated from campus and all the activity on Brown Street, he said.

The 3.2-acre Flight project site is just east of the Taco Bell on Brown Street. Right now, the property is a grassy field. It used to be home to Patterson-Kennedy school.

Fiorita wants to build a second phase that would cost more than the first and would bring the total number of units to 222. The second phase would add a new parking garage.

The 109 units in the first phase will offer about 292 beds, while the second phase would increase the bed count to 592.

Fiorita said a second phase will move forward if and when the first phase of housing is fully leased.

Fiorita said he is working on financing and has between five to 10 UD alumni who are considering investing in the project.

“Some of them heard about it and through people that I know contacted us — this was not us soliciting them — just with an interest to be involved in it,” Fiorita said.

Fiorita said he thinks the new apartments also will appeal to staff and medical residents at Miami Valley Hospital. He said most staff right now likely commute from the suburbs or downtown.

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Fiorita said he hopes construction will begin in the spring and will take about 18 to 24 months to finish.

UD estimates about 86% of its undergraduates this year live in university-owned housing or in privately owned housing within the campus area. Full-time undergraduate enrollment is about 8,046 students, and about 6,382 full-time students live in university-owned residences, UD said.

All first- and second-year students must live in university housing on campus, unless they are considered commuter students. The school also has about 2,141 full-time graduate students. UD’s upper-division housing starts at about $4,870 per semester.

UD students live in housing across the Dayton area, including in new and long-standing apartment buildings in downtown, as well as the Greene Luxury Living apartments.

The Greene appeals to college students for the same reasons it appeals to the many other kinds of people who rent the development’s 206 units — walkability, location and luxurious qualities, said Tracy Loper, residential property manager for the Greene Luxury Living.

The Greene apartments are 96% leased and occupied, Loper said, even at a time when there is growing competition from new housing projects downtown and elsewhere. “We don’t have one specific demographic more so than another,” she said. “It’s pretty even.” Students must financially qualify to live at the Greene apartments.

The addition of the free Flyer bus shuttle makes it easier to travel between the UD campus and downtown, which could lead to interested interest in downtown living among students.

Other new transportation options, like the dockless Spin electric scooters, also are improving connectivity between downtown and Brown Street.

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