Photos courtesy of John Lower '05

This photo sequence documents various stages of the construction of the Collegetown Crossing project, which includes five upper stories of apartments and a TCAT bus stop.

September 26, 2016

Landlords Say Collegetown Housing Hassle Unlikely to Change

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Although this August saw the completion of three large apartment buildings and the addition of nearly 200 bedrooms to the supply of housing in Collegetown, the annual rush to sign leases in Collegetown shows no sign of slowing, according to several major landlords in the neighborhood.

Leasing for Collegetown apartments has been “comparable to last year” and “in line with what we projected,” according to Josh Lower ’05, the developer of 307 College Ave.

Comparing the student housing process from one year to another is difficult due to annual variations in student taste, Lower emphasized.

“Some years three-bedrooms are more popular, some years four-bedrooms are more popular, so there isn’t an exact date when you clear all of your apartments,” he said. “It really varies from year to year.”

George Avramis, of Student Rentals Ithaca, agreed with Lower, saying that “leasing has been generally on par with the past few years.”

“Some [of our] buildings are 50 percent leased, some buildings are 100 percent leased, but we’re close to 70 to 75 percent leased overall,” Avramis said.

The addition of the three new buildings to Collegetown — 307 College Ave, 327 Eddy St and 205 Dryden Road — has “maybe [led to] a little bit of a decrease in the market for higher-end apartments,” although the prices students are willing to pay for apartments remains “all over the board,” according to Avramis.

Lower said that his company, Urban Ithaca Real Estate, starts renting apartments in the early fall and usually generally has the vast majority rented by the end of November.

The pressure students experience in the process of finding a Collegetown apartment is notorious among the student body — “lose a friend over signing a lease in Collegetown” is one of the on The Sun’s 161 Things Every Cornellian Should Do.

Lower said that the “competitive” nature of Cornell students, combined with the limited supply of apartments in Collegetown, combine to make signing a Collegetown lease a stressful experience.

“In order to get into Cornell you have to be competitive,” he said. “[Apartment seekers] are all competing to get the best location, the best deal and the nicest apartment.”

He advised students to proceed through the housing process more carefully to ensure that they choose their best possible living arrangements.

“Take your time, look at your options, try to be as quantitative and analytical as possible while factoring in some qualitative measures,” he said. “As with anything in life, look at your options and don’t be desperate.”