Moving around the world: Luxury high-rise apartments are changing the university experience | City and Dress

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The Metropolitan, 412 W. College Ave. at State College. Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

Everywhere you look, luxury student apartment buildings seem to sprout up in downtown State College, rising skyward, changing the vibe of Old College Town.

The short names of these goliath buildings seem to encompass what they are. From The Metropolitan, The Rise, HERE and The Standard, these towering buildings shape this city and change the college experience along the way.

University life redesigned

Just down the hall from Mason Pearce and Jesse Vargo’s third-floor apartment in the 12-story Metropolitan is a fitness center, a large community lounge, complete with a pool table and grill, and a swimming pool. complex style with two tubs.

The sumptuous swimming pool overlooks the edge of the building with a view of the city below. Two sunbeds add to the luxury of the shared community space which is balanced by private study rooms and a computer lab equipped with Macs and PCs.

“It’s a good mix of luxury and school emphasis all in one,” says Holly Wilson, who is the rental and marketing assistant for Metropolitan, which is located on the corner of West College Avenue and South Atherton Street.

On a hot summer day in mid-July the swimming pool is used by a few groups of young people in the apartment. In the fall semester, the party will be in the pool once the students fill out, but that’s pretty hit and miss.

“Sometimes you come here and it’s got a lot of people, other times you expect it to be crowded and it’s not. It’s a bit hit and miss,” says Vargo, who adds that his friends love to ride and use the pool every now and then. This is one of the perks of living in a luxury place – your friends are always ready to visit you. They are often impressed and maybe a little jealous.

The Metropolitan swimming pool is open from March to November. Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City & Dress.

“Every time I bring a friend over, he says, ‘This place is so nice; it’s so big. ‘ I love to hear that. When you go to their place it’s always a bit run down and a bit dirty, even though this place is clean, beautiful and big, ”says Vargo.

“A lot of residents like our building to be more upscale and luxurious, so they like to show it off and throw weekend parties,” says Wilson. But, she says, they also like that the study areas also foster a learning environment.

Open until 10 p.m. daily, the pool can be affected by the weather, but with hot tubs, even a cool night or a downpour can’t dampen the fun.

“Some residents are waiting for the torrential rains to be able to sit in the hot tubs. I don’t understand it, but it’s cool, ”Wilson says. The swimming pool remains open from March to November, offering students who stay only the fall and spring semesters plenty of opportunities for swimming.

The lounge area is connected to the pool by garage-style sliding doors. The space is sometimes used as a study area by residents, but in the evenings, nights, and weekends things usually get a bit busier.

“At lunchtime I would say the booths and the bar are almost 100% studying. And then more in the evenings and on the weekends, people will be here to relax, sit and drink, ”says Wilson.

The fitness center is spacious and well-equipped, and Vargo says it’s been especially helpful over the past year.

“I really like it, especially during the school year when COVID was in effect and the main gym on campus was closed, so I was able to come here whenever I wanted. “

Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

Vargo apologizes for the messy condition of the apartment, but given that groups of students live there together, it seems rather well maintained. Vargo, Pearce, and their roommates each have a private bedroom in their apartment, but many other floor plans call for residents to live with two beds per room.

In the show apartment, a dog dish lets potential tenants know that pets are allowed in the complex, although certain breeds and species are not allowed. The large open atmosphere of the apartments, along with all the amenities, add to a new kind of university life for Vargo.

“It’s a little different experience because I would say most students have the experience of living in some kind of rotten apartment trying to save as much money as possible while they’re at school. school, and I think I’m just lucky living in this super cool luxury space. That’s something a lot of people don’t think about when they think about college, “says Vargo.

Resident jesse Vargo says the Metropolitan Fitness Center proved particularly useful last year when gyms on campus were closed due to COVID-19. Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

Even with all the amenities, Vargo and Pearce say one of the best things about living in the Metropolitan is that old real estate motto: location, location, location.

“The location is a bit underestimated. The campus is literally right there, the city center is right there and everything is within walking distance, which I like, ”says Vargo. On the ground floor of the building, the second location of Japanese restaurant Tadashi always appears to be busy, although Vargo and Pearce have never eaten there. They are not a fan of the Japanese style cuisine, but they say a lot of people who live in the building go there frequently.

“There is a bunch of food very close. You can just get off and the campus is right there, ”says Pearce. The building also saw Orange Theory Fitness move into a store on the ground floor and local tech company KCF take over a large office space on the second floor, showing the mixed-use idea for these skyscrapers. -sky can work.

Back in the apartments, another perk for people moving to the area from afar is that they are fully furnished, including washers and dryers.

Study areas in the Metropolis. Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

Like many students, Vargo and Pearce both have part-time jobs to help make ends meet. They both work as community ambassadors at the Metropolitan. Work has its perks, an extremely short commute being one of them, as they are stationed just three floors from their apartment at reception.

Perhaps even more beneficial is the 30% reduction on the rent they receive as a benefit. This is convenient with rates ranging from $ 900 to $ 1,800 per person.

“There aren’t many apartment complexes that charge $ 900 for a room that also has sun beds, access to a hot tub and pool, plus all the other amenities that we offer, ”Wilson explains. Students living at the institution include international students and those from across the country and state.

“It’s a good mix everywhere. It’s pretty cool how they all come together, ”Wilson says.

Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

To grow

Before the Metropolitan opened in 2017, the 12-story Fraser Center was built in 2016, marking the start of the downtown build-up. The Fraser Center doesn’t offer luxury student life, but instead contains luxury hotel and condominium units above its lower-level retail space.

After the arrival of the Metropolitan in the market, offering luxury apartments for students and young professionals, it seems that new luxury apartment buildings for students are appearing in the city center every year, and they keep becoming more and more sumptuous and expensive.

“The Metropolitan has set the new standard for the price range of apartments in the State College neighborhood. So we came to establish ourselves, and that’s why the prices kept going up. … They meet our quality, ”says Wilson.

The 12-story The Rise building opened at 532 E. College Ave. in 2018. Photo by Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

In 2018, the 12-story The Rise mixed-use at 532 E. College Ave., and the seven-story The Edge at 254 E. Beaver, opened with more luxury amenities for student renters. The Rise boasts of offering a ‘double specialty in luxury and style’ and its perks include a fitness center with a yoga room, hot tub, club / game room, and more.

In 2020, HERE State College began renting its luxury apartments at 131 Hiester St. last fall while the ground floors were still under construction. Luxury at HERE includes a spa with hot tub, steam room, sauna and sunbeds, an indoor playing lawn with TVs and a pool table, and a penthouse sky lounge.

That same year, the seven-story Pugh Center opened at 150 E. Beaver Ave., offering fully furnished apartments. As you walk down Beaver Avenue, you can see people working out in the windows of the building’s large fitness center.

HERE State College opened at the former Garner Street parking lot in 2020. Photo by Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

After more than two years of construction, The Standard is welcoming students this fall, directly across from the Metropolitan at the corner of West College Avenue and Atherton Street. Chic amenities here include a resort-style pool and hot tubs, golf simulator, courtyard, game room, and more.

And the trend doesn’t stop there. Demolition of four buildings along College Avenue, Hetzel Street and Calder Way is scheduled for September 30 through mid-December, paving the way for another 12-story mixed-use apartment building.

For those wondering if there is enough need to fill all that space, every time Wilson has been contacted for this story, she has been busy on the phone with a potential new resident. At four weeks from move-in day, the Metropolitan was 92 percent full and more and more full by the day, with students looking to live the new high school life.

The newest skyscraper to open in downtown State College, The Standard has started welcoming tenants for Penn State’s fall semester 2021. Photo of Darren Andrew Weimert | City and Dress

This story appears in the August 2021 issue of Town & Gown.

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