After three years in which only one new apartment complex was built, Statesboro's apartment community is about to experience a major boom as three new developments are slated for construction in the next several months.
Demolition of the apartment complex formerly known as the Varsity Lodges on Rucker Lane is almost complete, and plans for its replacement are finalized.
The new 683-bed complex on Rucker Lane is going to be called One Eleven South, and is being developed by CampusWorks, a Charlotte-based student housing developer and builder, The Preiss Company, a Raleigh-based student housing developer and property manager, and Entasis Design, a Concord, N.C., based student housing architect and design firm.
Steve Helfrich is vice president of business development for CampusWorks. Helfrich said his company was looking at the Statesboro market for the last few years.
"What we really liked about this market was a number of things," he said. "Enrollment continues to rise, and the popularity of Georgia Southern continues to increase. Also, we feel that students really get a 'college town' experience in Statesboro. It isn't the same as a university being located in the middle of a big city like Atlanta or Charlotte."
Helfrich said they had looked at other options in the area, but nothing really materialized until they were able to purchase the property on Rucker Lane in a short sale.
A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from selling the property fall short of the balance of debts secured by liens against the property, and the property owner cannot afford to repay the full amounts of the liens. Thus, the lien holders agree to release their lien on the real estate and accept less than the amount owed on the debt.
The complex that was recently razed on the 12-acre Rucker Lane footprint was constructed in 1986, and was not suitable for repositioning.
One Eleven South will have four main apartment buildings with two, three, four, and five-bedroom apartment units available for lease. This will be the first complex the company has developed with a five-bed option.
"We feel that the five-bed option may be popular with international students," he said. "International students are more in tune with living in closer quarters with one another. They tend to come to a university in a group, rather than alone. We will see if this option is appealing to that segment of the student population. This will be a test market for us."
Helfrich said they have secured the same commercial space to use for a leasing office as did The Forum when it was under construction this past year. The complex's temporary leasing office will be in Woodland Square on Highway 301 South.
Community manager of The Forum Mitch Fender said leasing of The Forum has gone very well.
"I am very proud to say that we were 100 percent leased for fall on May 6 of this year," Fender said. "We have no vacancies. It was a lot of hard work, but the demand is definitely there. It will be really, really interesting having three new properties coming on line at this time next year. I don't know that this many beds have come on line at the same time before."
Other firsts for the development of One Eleven South will be a "lazy river" in the pool area.
"Amenities are very important, and we felt like a lazy river would really augment the resort style pool that is being constructed." Helfrich said. "This complex will be highly amenitized."
Co-developer of the project The Preiss Company also owns the The University Village at Southern apartment complex in Statesboro. According to Helfrich, One Eleven South is a $27 million project.
The other two developments are Aspen Heights on Highway 67 South, and the Monarch Douglas on Highway 301 South. Land clearing has begun for Aspen Heights, and plans have been submitted to the city of Statesboro for approval by the developers of the proposed Monarch Douglas.