ANN ARBOR, MI-A joint venture has opened the first phase of an 896-bed, three-building student housing complex here called the Courtyards. Allen & O’Hara Development, a division of Memphis, TN-based Education Realty Trust, partnered with Kensington/Marquette Partners in developing the property at 1780 Broadway, adjacent to the north campus of the University of Michigan.

The first phase is about 204 beds, says a spokesman for the venture. The entire complex should be finished by March, he tells He declined to provide a cost for the project.

Amenities at the project include fully-furnished, private bedroom-bathroom apartments equipped with full-sized kitchens, granite countertops, in-unit washers and dryers, satellite television, 24-hour study rooms, onsite tanning domes, gas grills, dedicated video game rooms with flat screens, a recreation room, an onsite, 20-seat movie theater and an outdoor badminton court. The spokesman says students these days are used to finer things than the shared dorms of the past. “These kids have grown up with their own beds and bathrooms, the high-speed internet and TV, just all-around comforts. They want to be comfortable, and the parents want them to be comfortable,” he says.

Parents also don’t have to worry about the students losing an apartment because of other students’ poor spending habits. “It’s individual liability for every student. If one deadbeat flunks out, the other students in the apartment are allowed to stay,” the spokesman says. Rates run from sharing a four-bedroom apartment for $649 per month per person, to a private, one-bedroom apartment for $1,149 per month.

The city is one of the few areas in Michigan that have been shielded from the state’s economic crisis, largely because of the university and its popularity. Also, construction for the project is almost complete, where other sites may have trouble getting off the ground, the spokesman says. “We came out on the front edge of the construction boom, we’re benefiting from being ahead of the curve a little bit. It’s my sense, though, that whether economy is good or bad, there’s always going to be demand in the higher education market,” he says.

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