New luxury off-campus student housing to open for fall 2014

By Katelyn Freil, News Editor
August 26, 2013
Filed under City News

The Depot, the latest in off-campus student housing for The University of Akron, is currently under construction and is slated to be finished in time for the 2014 fall semester.

Located on East Exchange Street, this $30 million, 624-bed housing community from student property management company Asset Campus Housing will be a go-to option for the tech-savvy student. Integrating technology was necessary, said Aaron Pechota, vice president of development for The NRP Group LLC, the developer for The Depot.Depot-Corner2

“The biggest thing that you find in focus groups is how important technology is,” Pechota said. “If your shower or toilet doesn’t work, it’s a problem, you have to call someone to repair it and it’s an inconvenience. If you can’t get on your Wi-Fi on your smartphone or your laptop, that’s unacceptable.”

For this reason, The Depot will include a computer lab with fixed computer workstations, a conference room with projection capability for group projects, a commercial printer, high-speed internet, Wi-Fi and workstations, according to depotatakron.com.

Pechota said that the workstations are designed to be open and flexible, as opposed to the old-school study style where students are separated by dividers. This will provide more opportunities for collaboration between students.

Pechota said the goal for any project from the NRP, including The Depot, is to be the premiere property in the market with the highest level of amenities, quality and service. According to its website, the goal for Asset Campus Housing is to provide students with a way of life that will help them attain their goals.

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Other amenities at The Depot include a heated pool, a mini-market on site, a game room, two fitness rooms, a concierge desk and an outdoor kitchen and grill area. According to the website, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom floor plans are available.

Shane Riley, the general manager of The Depot Leasing Office, said roommate matching is provided for individuals if needed and is based on a survey provided when a student signs a lease.

Amenities for each room include one bathroom per bedroom, a stacked washer and dryer, a 42-inch TV and granite countertops in the kitchen.

The Depot will also offer a place for students to congregate. Pechota said that The Depot will have speakers, parties and other events for students to enjoy together.

According to Pechota, one of the main reasons this location on East Exchange Street was chosen for The Depot was its relation to both campus and downtown Akron.

“We love the fact that we’re on the edge of the university and the edge of downtown,” Pechota said. “Students can walk to class and they can walk down the street when they want things to do; it’s just a five-minute walk anywhere they need to go.”

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While the position of this lot was prime, the historical aspect also played a role in its selection, as it was once a station for the Erie Railroad before becoming a storage facility for the Akron Beacon Journal.

“One of the reasons we named it The Depot is because we recognize it as an old depot train station and it is right next to the railroad, which everyone in Akron knows runs right through the middle of the city,” he said. “Instead of being scared that you’re right next to the railroad tracks, you embrace it and it becomes nice that you are.”

In designing the building, The NRP Group decided to incorporate aspects from the original building into the construction of The Depot. One example is the use of four monument “E’s” used in the courtyard, clubhouse and concierge areas to signify the Erie Railroad, according to a recent press release. Pechota said that concrete from the old building was crushed on site and is being reused, as well as ornate supports that will be used in the gas fireplace within the building.

Riley said that from what he has seen, trends like environmental awareness are important to students and in a city like Akron, the historical aspect can be just as crucial. Repurposing materials from the original building is one way developers were able to respond to those trends.

“A lot of the future residents and students enjoy that historical aspect,” Riley said.

Pechota added that while there are various homey touches throughout the building, like the fireplace and more traditional games like billiards, the overall feel is more sleek and modern. He referred to this as the “Apple influence,” a nod to the popular consumer electronics company, Apple Inc.

“Everybody likes things to be sleek, a little bit more modern, a little edgier,” Pechota said. “So instead of just truly traditional finish, we have a much more modern feel.”

Even with all of the amenities and detail put into construction of the building, Pechota said that the price of living at The Depot is right on par with the market at The University of Akron.

“The university’s done a great job of making this into a real campus as opposed to just an urban commuter school,” he said. “It feels like a campus and I think what we’re doing really adds to that.”

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For those students who want to live in The Depot but don’t have a roommate and can’t afford a one-bedroom apartment, individual lease liability is provided. According to Riley, students can lease one bedroom in a multi-bedroom floor plan and share the common room.

Since it was announced in early August that The Depot had officially began leasing, Riley has noticed a steady wave of students coming into the office interested in touring the building. He expects the number of students showing interest to increase as the fall semester progresses.

To find out more about The Depot, visit depotatakron.com or the leasing office at 446 E. Exchange St.

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