How will new university housing impact the downtown rental market?

According to the Chicago Loop Alliance (pdf), more than 65,000 students attend classes in the Loop / South Loop area.

Downtown Chicago campuses include East-West University, DePaul University, Columbia College, Roosevelt University, Northwestern’s law and medical schools, and Robert Morris University, to name just a few. One downtown student residence building, in fact, bills itself as being “steps away from 30 universities.”

Roosevelt University’s much-noticed 32-story “vertical campus” is scheduled to open early next year, and it will include on-campus housing for more than 600 students. East-West University recently broke ground on a new Student Life Center that is scheduled to open in the fall of 2013 and house more than 200 students.

If you’ve spent any time at all in downtown Chicago apartment and condo buildings, you’re acutely aware that many of the units are occupied by students. Too acutely in some cases – one condo owner told me he sold his unit after his floor hosted a 10-day long New Year’s Eve party.

Will the new university-affiliated student housing options drain demand away from the private rental market as it tries to absorb a large number of new units coming on-stream? Will they make life more tolerable for condo owners and apartment renters who find themselves unwittingly and unwillingly living in a campus atmosphere?

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