The snip of a blue ribbon officially marked the opening of a colossal apartment complex Friday as media and distinguished guests were able to tour the latest and greatest of student housing south of BYU campus — The Village at South Campus.
With Fall Semester a mere two and a half weeks away, businessmen and women from R&O Construction, Zions Bank, Peak Joaquin Holdings and BYU Off-Campus Housing, to name a few, gathered together to celebrate the end of a two-year process.
“It’s indeed been a pleasure and a lot of fun, a lot of teasing, a lot of work and a lot of negotiations,” said Scott Clements, spokesman for Peak Joaquin Holdings, “and we feel that we’ve tried to deliver a project that is as great as is humanly possible.”
Though on the higher end of housing prices, The Village offers its residents astounding amenities, including an indoor pool and hot tub, multiple game rooms, a 24-hour fitness room, an onsite restaurant, a grocery market and 100 percent private rooms.
The undertaking of such a complex began in October of 2010 with the ground breaking, but the initial idea came well before that.
“This project came to us at the peak of financial crisis,” said Michael Morris, Executive Vice President of real estate for Zions Bank. “Throughout the so-called Great Recession, it was a project that stood out. It was a large transaction with some perceived risks, so the way that it was put together and the confidence level that we’ve had, and the principles, and in the need and demand for a property like this, (we) overcame all the risk issues that we thought would be attentive with it.”
The site on which The Village now exists used to be the site for Joaquin Elementary School, a K-6 school that was the educational home for just over 400 students. Jamie Dunn, a founder and one of three partners at Peak Capital Partners, said though the site is no longer a school, it will still be used for educational purposes.
“Now (this site is) going to be the home of students who are learning,” Dunn said. “We’ve tried in a lot of things that we’ve done to embrace the legacy of learning that this site represents. Our objective from the beginning was to create a community that was real, that was vibrant, that fulfilled the needs of the future residents; a place that they would look back on many years down the road and recollect some of their fondest memories from life. We want this to be a place that promotes a sort of active learning environment, but also a place that they have fun.”
Peak Capital Partners and its affiliates normally acquire existing apartment complexes, but, as Dunn explained, felt that in Provo’s residential sub-market there was a need for an apartment complex created from scratch.
Building from scratch and opening just a couple of weeks before school posed problems, the biggest one being would residents want to live in The Village if they weren’t able to tour the complex?
“Leasing something at one of the highest rates in the markets is tough to do in any situation, but especially when you can’t take people on the site,” Dunn said. “So for the last six months we’ve had a couple model units, but (Alliance Residential has) been leasing with video and a hope and a dream, but they haven’t been able to take people in, and they’ve worked hard, they’ve been creative and sort of consistent in their efforts.”
The ribbon ceremony on Friday confirmed that all fears have been put to bed. The management team announced that The Village was at 92 percent occupancy and still expected more applications before the official start of school.
“Projects of this type are few and far between, and I’m very proud of the construction team, obviously,” Clements said. “It’s very rare that you can get quality schedule and cost, and I’m very proud to announce that the project has come in on time … (and) on or under budget and added quality at the same time.”