Third off-campus apartment complex coming in 2017
Students will have yet another off-campus housing option come fall 2017.
The Gateway on Cullen, the third UH student housing venture for Fountain Residential Partners after the Vue on MacGregor and Campus Vue, will be opening its hub on the north side of Interstate 45 off of Cullen Boulevard.
“Student go to universities and the first thing they look at is academics, but another large factor that kids think about is ‘Where am I going to live?’” Trevor Tollett, vice president of Fountain Residential Partners said. “There is some fantastic on-campus housing at the University of Houston, but kids come in and say ‘That’s where I’m going to live freshmen year or maybe even sophomore year, but where am I going to live junior and senior year?’”
Tollett considers recent university successes like enrollment growth and the football team’s 13-1 season reasons why UH is a desirable off-campus housing market.
“Everything that the administration at UH has done over the past several years has just really catapulted UH into the spotlight, and before we came there, there was no off-campus purpose building for student housing,” Tollett said. “We thought there was a huge void, and we decided to take a risk with the first project we did, the Vue on MacGregor, and we were very pleased with the success, so now we’re on our third deal.”
The Gateway on Cullen will have 531 beds in various floor plans, ranging from one-bedroom apartments to townhouses. The complex will also have a fitness and cardio center, private study rooms and a resort-style pool, according to a news release.
Tollett said that as part of Fountain Residential’s real estate due diligence, they reached out to community stakeholders around the area, including Council Member Robert Gallegos, who oversees District I, where the complex will be built.
“Working with Council Member Gallego’s office, we set up some community meetings and discussed concerns with the surrounding neighborhood,” Tollett said. “The collaboration was to make sure all the community stakeholders knew what was going on with the project, and that we are the good steward of the community.”
Biology senior Siddiqua Noor has lived on campus her entire time at UH and said that she loves living on campus because of the convenience.
“I think it’s great that more options are popping up for students wishing to live closer to campus and avoid the hectic commute,” Noor said. “Unfortunately, these off campus options do take away from funding for the University and student housing life. With dormitories or on-campus apartments, students have more opportunities to connect and socialize with other fellow students at multiple UH events.”
Gallegos said that there are talks of turning the defunct Finger Furniture off the edge of campus into a retail center with a grocery store.
“For some reason, the University of Houston hasn’t been known as a campus that has residential students,” Gallegos said. “That whole area, within the next couple of years, you won’t be able to (recognize it) in regards to what we have now, and the (apartment complex) is just going to transform the whole area.”
The Gateway on Cullen will be the only Fountain Residential property on the north side of the Gulf Freeway. Fountain Residential’s other two student housing properties, the Vue on MacGregor and Campus Vue, were plagued with delays because of contractor failure, Tollett said.
“With the Gateway on Cullen, we’re giving ourselves roughly 18 months to build a less complicated, less dense project,” Tollett said. “We are confident that we are going to be able to deliver this new project by the fall of 2017.”
Though the property has not broken ground, Fountain Residential Partners President, Brent Little, said in a news release that the longer build time allowed “the chance to build spacious townhome units which will be unique to this market and offer larger, better amenitized public spaces.”
“All ships are moving in the right direction, and it really is a mixture of public and private efforts,” Tollett said. “It’s a combined effort, and we’ve taken some good steps in working with the city. Hopefully the University is getting to where it needs to be, and I think it’s something everyone will be proud of.”