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UNLV seeing more housing developments going up near campus

Updated September 3, 2019 - 7:13 pm

The area near UNLV hasn’t exactly been a hot spot for housing development.

UNLV has long been known as a commuter school, and on top of that, developers often steer clear of Las Vegas’ urban areas in favor of the suburbs.

But this year, three big residential complexes have opened on or near the campus, and more could be on the way.

The Degree, a 226-unit on-campus student housing complex, was more than 90 percent leased before the fall semester started. The yoU, a 125-unit apartment building across Maryland Parkway from UNLV, had its first tenant move in a week or so ago. Echo 1055, a 215-unit complex across Tropicana Avenue from the university, opened last month.

The projects weren’t all supposed to open around the same time, but their debuts come amid increased apartment construction around the valley and rising enrollment at UNLV.

G2 Capital Development founder Frank Marretti, developer of the yoU, said on-campus housing has been “less than adequate” to meet demand, and the university’s growth has attracted residential developers.

By fall 2018, 30,457 students were enrolled at UNLV, up about 9.4 percent from the fall of 2013, university figures show.

Marretti’s seven-story apartment building will feature a rooftop pool deck, ground-floor retail and two floors leased to UNLV. He also tore down Campus Village, a partially subterranean retail and office complex on Maryland across from UNLV, early this year and envisions building a hotel and roughly 400 apartments there.

Meanwhile, Echo 1055 offers study rooms, a yoga room, a Zen garden and other amenities.

“When the workouts are complete, the rest has been had, and the studying is done — make your way to our game room for a night of fun!” its website said.

The five-story complex opened around mid-August, according to GFO Cos. investment director David Fong, a member of the development team.

His group is looking to do other projects around UNLV, Fong said.

The Degree, at the northeast corner of campus, features outdoor cabanas, hammocks, a fire pit and, like the other new buildings, fully furnished apartments.

“One of our goals is to provide students with a high-quality and well-rounded experience that includes on-campus living, and The Degree helps take us to the next level,” UNLV Vice President of Student Affairs Juanita Fain said in July.

Developed by The Midby Cos. in partnership with UNLV, the five-story complex opened two years later than scheduled. The project had stalled after disagreements with a prior contractor.

The Degree marks the first phase of the so-called U-District plan to add up to 3,000 beds to the UNLV campus.

Flooding the market with rooms is less-than-ideal for developers, who have to contend with increased competition, but it could bode well for tenants.

Not that it was planned this way. Fong noted that when his group was developing Echo, they thought The Degree “would already be open.”

Contact Eli Segall at esegall@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0342. Follow @eli_segall on Twitter.

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