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ORLANDO-Dallas-based JPI has broken ground on Jefferson Lofts, an estimated $50 million, 254-unit, 730-bed, townhome-styled apartment community at 1805 Loftway Circle near the University of Central Florida’s 35,000-student campus in east Orange County.

The venture, complete with a clubhouse, covered basketball and volleyball courts and a 24-hour business center, is the first of its kind under the county’s stringent new student housing zoning ordinance. The project will have 16 three-story buildings.

JPI wouldn’t disclose the development cost of the project. But area construction industry estimators familiar with less-luxurious student housing, tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity Jefferson Lofts units are probably being built for at least $90,000 per unit or a total $23 million.

The clubhouse, resort-styled swimming pool and surrounding amenities will bring the total cost near the $50 million mark, industry estimators tell GlobeSt.com. Leasing is scheduled to begin in November with occupancy expected by March 2003.

Monthly rents are $495 to $975 per bed. At a median rent of $735, the monthly rent roll will total an estimated $536,000 or an annual total of $6.43 million. Apartment sizes are 604 sf to 1,431 sf.

In a prepared statement, Brent Little, division senior vice president and development partner for JPI’s Student Living Division, says the project was undertaken only after JPI completed extensive market surveys with UCF students on their specific housing needs.

“Privacy and noise reduction were two of the biggest requests,” Little says. To resolve these problems, JPI split the bedrooms between the first and second levels in each apartment. Closet and storage space was another student priority. JPI built walk-in closes and added exterior storage closets.

Little calls the project “an innovative approach to university housing, combining fully-furnished apartments, leasing-by-the-bed and all-bills-paid with a townhome design.”

JPI pays for electricity and water usage at each apartment, plus charges for high-speed Internet and cable TV use. Students pay for their own telephone service but JPI provides the jacks.

JPI’s Student Living Division has built off-campus housing at 30 major universities. The company has conventional apartment projects under construction in 20 states. Over the past 12 months, JPI broke ground on 7,000 new apartment homes.

The company provides property management and leasing services for 21,000 apartments, including 6,000 student living units and 15,000 conventional or third-party apartments.

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