Just over a month before the first day of classes, students leasing apartments in the Element student housing complex north of campus were notified that they would not actually be able to move in at the beginning of this semester.
Though initially scheduled to be completed and ready for move-in before the beginning of the fall semester, the Element complex has been riddled with delays that has left many students displaced.
“It was extremely unsettling to hear that Element was not done with construction,” said Turner Wong, a senior majoring in international relations and east Asian languages who had signed a lease with the housing complex. “This is far from the ideal situation.”
Located at the intersection of Hoover Street and Adams Boulevard, Element is designed to be a four-story structure, featuring 46 townhomes and 4,100 square feet of street-level commercial space.
But a stall in city approval and a string of construction delays has set off its opening until mid-September. With the holdup, a majority of the lessees have been relocated by the complex’s management company, StuHo, to the Da Vinci Apartments in Downtown Los Angeles.
StuHo has informed lessees that they hope to have students moved in by Sept. 15. In the meantime, the units for the displaced students at Da Vinci have been secured until Sept. 30.
Some lessees, however, are doubtful of the ability to move in by that date. In the best case scenario, students would only be able to move into a half-complete project.
“We signed a contract to live in Element; we did not sign up to live in the Da Vinci and a half-completed building,” Wong said.
Donald Annarella, a senior majoring in real estate development who was also displaced during the delay, said that even though he is looking forward to the completed apartments, the delay has proved difficult to accommodate.
“I think it’s going to be a great development, but it’s inconvenient to have to shuttle around everywhere,” Annarella said.
Annarella did note a rent decrease for the majority of the fall semester, though his parents were still unhappy.
“They told me they would be discounting the rent by 20 percent from August through to December,” Annarella said. “My parents thought it was inconvenient, paying and signing the lease for a non-finished building.”
The Da Vinci has also fallen flat with many of the displaced residents.
While Element advertised its proximity to campus, students at Da Vinci now must be shuttled to school, a service offered by Da Vinci management. Due to traffic jams downtown, some have found the need to Uber instead.
Also, some say they have been given arrangements at Da Vinci that don’t match the layout that StuHo promised in Element, which advertised three-bedroom, three-bathroom floor plans with high-quality finishes.
Wong said it’s evident that the Da Vinci was not built with student living in mind and thus is not a proper relocation.
“The apartments at Element fit six people, however the rooms at the Da Vinci only fit four,” Wong said. “My roommate and I are separated from the four other girls in our house.”
Element still advertises on the front page of its leasing website that it will be opening in August 2016. Furthermore, the lease term on its website still hasn’t been updated to reflect the current status of the delayed approvals.
StuHo was unable to be reached for a comment.