Off-campus apartment complexes are reporting a slight reduction in occupancy compared to recent years.
Following a 2.9-percent decrease in total undergraduate enrollment at Central Michigan University, some apartment complexes are pointing blame for the vacancies at the shrinking student body.
“What we’ve noticed is a 9-percent decline in residents from last year, which is directly correlated with the lowered enrollment that Central Michigan has experienced,” said Rob Zitentek, executive director of the Village at Bluegrass.
Bluegrass anticipated a downward slide over the next couple of years, based on the enrollment figures released by CMU last year. Zitentek said he has had to plan for the worst in order to stay competitive.
Fewer students correlates to less business for housing companies like Bluegrass, located at 4300 Collegiate Way.
“Five years ago, we were at 100 percent occupancy,” Zitenek said. “Last year, our total occupancy was at 97 percent. We saw a decline of about 67 or 68 kids from last year.”
Zitentek also points to expansions being made by other housing companies as a potential reason for the reduction in occupancy. For example, Copper Beech Townhomes, 4750 E. Bluegrass Road, recently finished construction on 10 buildings with 256 bedrooms, a pool, tennis court and basketball court.
Leasing agent Gabe Hillard said Copper Beech hasn’t seen much of a decline, boasting about 94 percent occupancy. Hillard said this was fairly typical and the complex has not been concerned with enrollment this year.
Despite this, some local Copper Beech residents have noticed a slight change in the atmosphere of their neighborhood.
“Last year, it seemed that more people were more active and vocal,” said Rochester junior Nick Reed, a Copper Beech resident for two years. “It’s hard to say if it’s just the people here are quieter this year or there are more vacancies, but it does seem that things are much more quiet on the weekends.”
Tallgrass Apartments, 1240 E. Broomfield St., is also seeing slight reductions in its student occupancy. Apartment Manager Jill Simmons said she has seen lower numbers this year but is not concerned.
“Normally, we are at 100 percent occupancy,” Simmons said. “This year, we are seeing fewer than 10 out of our 320 rooms empty.”
Mount Pleasant senior Erica Little has also noticed a change at Lexington Ridge Apartments, 3700 E. Deerfield Road, from last year.
“It has been more quiet this year,” Little said. “Things are still fairly normal, but I do think there are less people, from what I remember.”