Ohio State University's plan to add eleven new dorms for more than 3,000 students is worrying some campus-area landlords.
OSU President E. Gordon Gee said that he wants all sophomores to live on campus to enhance their college experience, and he hopes to encourage more students to stay in school and graduate.
Sophomores Faith Cahoon and Lauren Axcell, who share an apartment with three other students, enjoy apartment living.
"Having the freedom to move off campus and live with a group of friends that you met after your first year is really great," Lauren Axcell said.
Faith Cahoon added that it's cheaper than paying for dorm fees and a meal plan.
"You can buy however many groceries you want, make it last however long you can, and find sales, stuff like that, to make it cheaper for you," Cahoon said.
The students rent one of 600 Inn-Town apartments in the campus area which are owned in part by Richard Talbott.
Talbott said campus landlords invested in some major improvements in the last decade, especially after the Gateway apartment and commercial development project opened on High Street at the south end of campus.
"Private enterprise money went to fix up building after building after building," Talbott said.
Talbott was especially unhappy with the plan for new dorm complex, unveiled last Friday by the OSU Board of Trustees.
He said a study done for Campus Partners in 2008 shows that 16 percent of campus tenants are sophomores. Talbott said that the change would hurt area landlords.
"That's about 20 million in income that's taken from this neighborhood and put across the street. We pay taxes on our income. Ohio State does not," said Talbott.
Talbott based the numbers on a potential loss of 5,000 student tenants. He added that losing sophomores as tenants could mean a loss of half a million tax dollars to the city and a million dollars to the state. He also worried that the change could ruin small landlords.
"One vacancy, and they're out of business," he said.
Meanwhile, Robert Vogt of Vogt-Santer Insights, a national real estate research firm, said that the market for apartments is so hot right now that even if all sophomores leave - he thinks those apartments won't stay empty for long.
Vogt said that the city, state, and landlords probably would not lose that much money.
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