Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Student Housing Project Hits Snag

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

Student Housing Project Hits Snag

Article excerpt

TUSCALOOSA | A proposed student housing development on the site of the former Riverview Water Treatment plant gained unanimous approval Monday for a rezoning, a subdivision realignment and the vacating of an unused street.

It failed, however, to gain the city's Planning and Zoning Commission's blessing for the site plans as drawn under the stringent Riverfront Zoning, which requires at least six commissioners to vote to approve.

The Riverfront Zoning petition failed 5-3, with Commissioners Easty Lambert-Brown, Chad Christian and Steven Rumsey voting against it.

Campus Crest Development, the company behind the 228-unit, 628- bed complex off Fifth Street Northeast, now goes before the City Council for approval on the rezoning of a .04-acre tract within the 15.86-acre site and the Riverfront Zoning approval.

Only one city resident spoke against the development, called The Grove at Tuscaloosa, and two others asked questions regarding building proximity to existing homes, noise, parking and traffic.

Representatives for Campus Crest Development addressed these concerns and left many of the commissioners saying that a student-

housing complex is ideal for this location.

"This is the right location for student housing," said Alex Eyssen, director of development for the Charlotte, N.C.-based development company. "This is the right time and this is the right project."

The primary topic debated by commissioners was the proposed parking plan, which calls for about 525 spaces for the 628 bedrooms.

Rumsey, the commission chairman, questioned whether the parking would be enough to accommodate the tenants where bedrooms likely will rent for at least $600.

Eyssen, however, said that an audit of several of the 81 student- based properties owned or operated by Campus Crest Development nationwide showed that this number of spaces will be adequate and speculated that many will remain empty.

"We find that every resident does not have a car ...," Eyssen said. "(Parking) is not something we take lightly. …

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