On August 7, Statesboro's latest entry into the student housing market opened its doors, and the students came in mass.
The Grove, located in the Market District development on Fair Road, is designed to house 536 students, and according to the property's manager Mitch Fender, there are very few openings remaining.
"We only had a couple of spots left this week," Fender said. "Those spots became available when students who had leased them were unable to come to school due to health or family reasons. We are very excited with the way things have turned out."
With 10 leasing agents and five additional employees to help with the ongoing maintenance of the property, the Grove has experienced the level of success expected when a new, major apartment complex opens near Georgia Southern.
"New properties have a track record of doing very well in Statesboro," Fender said. "That is the way it has been the last several years. A major part of the success is attributable to the properties themselves, the amenities they offer. Here at the Grove, we have tried to bring student living to a new level, and I feel that we have done that."
Amenities at the Grove include a sand volleyball court, full court basketball, resort style pool, fire pit and grilling area, coffee bar, 24/7 fitness center, tavern-like game room, Harvard style library, and a controlled access gate. Fender said the amenities are very nice, but the vastness of the clubhouse really catches the eye of potential renters.
"When students walk in the door, they literally cannot believe our clubhouse," he said. "It is so nice and upscale. It is over 10,000 square feet, and I really think it is both amazing and fun."
Georgia Southern students Brittaney and Erica Mallard are twin sisters, and both are majorettes with the GSU marching band. They are sophomores this semester, and this is their first experience with apartment living.
"We both lived in the dorm last year, and really liked it, but wanted more space," Brittaney Mallard said. "So, we took a week looking at apartments around Georgia Southern, and narrowed it down to three or four properties. Our parents came up from Jesup, and decided that this is where we needed to live. We really love it."
The developer of the Grove in Statesboro is Campus Crest Communities, a national real estate developer of college housing, based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Initially the company planned to have the Grove completed in August 2009, but the shakeup in the banking industry in the fall of 2008 delayed the project resulting in an August 2010 opening.
The delay doesn't appear to have hurt the complex's popularity as students are quick to sing the praises of the property.
"The walk-in closets are so nice, and of course, the apartment is furnished," said Katherine Harris. "There are couches in the pool to lounge on, as well as a pavilion area right next to the pool with couches and a fireplace. Everything about it is so nice."
Six large apartment complexes including Campus Crossing, Copper Beech, and the Exchange have been built in close proximity to Georgia Southern's campus over the last six years. Estimates by local property managers place the number of student beds currently available through apartments, duplexes, townhomes, and rental houses well in excess of 12,500.
In addition, Georgia Southern has constructed several new, state-of-the-art dorms for students.
"When I entered Georgia Southern as a student in 2003, there wasn't any housing as nice as the apartments and dorms that have been built in the last few years," Fender said. "I never lived in anything like this as a student. It is awesome. It is unbelievable, and the students really seem to enjoy it. Further, we want parents to know that their children are safe and well taken care of in a secure facility. It is a great place to live that parents can feel good about."