Students choose high-end apartments
Over the summer, Lorenzo, the newest high-end housing project catering to USC students, partially opened to residents. While only the latest in a series of amenity-rich, university-unaffiliated housing complexes, Lorenzo is unique in that it boasts luxurious conditions, but also far from the center of campus. The building is located on W. Adams Boulevard, over half a mile from campus.
“A lot of parents want their students to be closer to campus. However, we do have tons of shuttles,” Lorenzo leasing agent Keyana Lavergme said. “We have three shuttles right now, and they run all day and all night.”
Lorenzo remains one of the most distant housing complexes from campus. Christopher Greenspan, director of asset management and investments at R. W. Selby & Co., the company in charge of Tuscany, an apartment complex located on S. Figueroa Street just south of Exposition Boulevard, highlighted location as a main benefit of the apartments at Tuscany.
“We offer something that others cannot offer,” he said. “For Tuscany, it is walking distance to the campus, and walking distance to the business school.”
For students, choosing where to live can be a decision that involves weighing factors such as practicality, location, price and amenities.
“I chose to live in Lorenzo because it had a ton of vacancies. Since I’m transferring, I was doing my housing months and months after everyone else,” Stephen Carr, an undeclared sophomore, said. “Now that I’m here, it’s pretty insane. It’s beautiful [inside], like a hotel.”
For Jennifer Michelman, a junior majoring in business, the choice also came down to both logistics and luxury.
“The main reason that I [chose to live in the Lorenzo] is because I’m going abroad next semester, so I needed to rent for six months,” Michelman said. “But I was also attracted to the amenities. It’s literally like living in a hotel.”
Rates at the Lorenzo run between $831 and $1,376 a month, or $4,155 and $6,880 for five months, the approximate length of a semester. Their smallest floor plan is approximately 700 square feet, and their largest about 1,300 according to its website.
USC also offers many housing options for those who choose not to live in buildings like Lorenzo and Tuscany. There are 18 university-owned apartment buildings for undergraduate upperclassmen. One popular option for housing is Cardinal Gardens, where an approximately 750 square foot apartment for four people costs $4,140 a semester, according to the USC Housing website. The complex, located on McClintock Ave., houses about 655 students.
Brooke Seegan, a sophomore majoring in biomedical engineering, chose to live in university-owned Troy East for the convenience it provides.
“I didn’t want to have to deal with leasing an apartment or buying furniture or worrying if one of my roommates decided to study abroad,” Seegan said.
The cost of a semester at Troy East runs between $2,885 and $4,465.
While it offers furnished apartments, a workout room and study rooms, Troy East does not have the extra amenities that non-university housing often provides.
“We have a movie theater, we have a three-story gym with rock climbing and robes. We also have an outdoor pool, indoor pool and rooftop pool. We have saunas and steam rooms and cabanas,” Lavergme said of Lorenzo.
The proliferation of new apartment buildings also increases the competition for existing high-end housing options. According to leasing consultant Joey Hughes, University Gateway apartments, one of the first in the new wave of high-end apartment complexes, often has to adapt.
“As the demand changes, we have to change along with it. There’s always going to be new completion,” Hughes said.
He says Gateway, however, has two distinct benefits.
“Our location and our management. We care more,” Hughes said.
Many students, though, are not willing to pay more, even for the benefits expensive housing may provide.
“My big problem with the high-end USC housing options is not the options themselves as much as the options they replace,” Sam Vercauteran, a junior majoring in computer science, said. “I do not have any strong desire or the financial resources to stay at one of these places, and I know a lot of people feel the same way.”
Follow Isabella Sayyah on Twitter @isabellasayyah