In Utah, you can’t throw a rock without hitting a college student. In 2013, college students made up over 6 percent of Utah’s population, ranking the state in fourth place in terms of student-to-population ratio. And more students are coming every year, bound for schools in the heart of tech-mecca Silicon Slopes. In 2016, enrollment at public universities in Utah increased by over 4,739 students, which was on top of the previous year’s increase of 3,453. By 2024, Utah is projected to gain 50,000 college students, reaching 226,000 students.
With this projected influx, it begs the question: Where are all these students going to live?
Until now, that answer has been dorms, off-campus apartments, and homes sliced up into separate units for singles and couples alike. But with the student population increasing, changes have to be made. After all, even the most penny-pinching student will draw the line somewhere before sharing a single bathroom with eight roommates.
Student housing developer Nelson Brothers — based in Provo and headquartered in Aliso Viejo, Calif. — is making plans to accommodate the coming flood. With major construction projects already completed and others underway, Nelson Brothers will relieve the burden in the areas sure to feel the heaviest load: Orem and Provo.
With an enrollment of 32,061 students in 2016, Utah Valley University has leapfrogged the University of Utah to become the state’s largest school. Nelson Brothers currently owns and operates two student housing locations focusing on UVU students: University Towers and the newly remodeled University Gateway. Both are within walking distance of the university.
Nelson Brothers has even more development on tap with a new project near UVU. The firm has begun work on University Downs, a resort-size student housing community on six acres west of I-15, set to house 1,200 students, with single and married housing available. The finished project will include three structures: one 10-story tower (traditional multi-student units concept); one 6-story arm dedicated to married students, including space for one to two children; and another 6-story arm (traditional multi-student units concept).
Nelson Brothers properties are renowned for a variety of plush amenities, and University Downs is no exception: plans include a full-size NCAA Basketball court, indoor volleyball court, cinema room, soccer turf field, two pools, three hot tubs, bowling lanes and sand volleyball courts.
Nelson Brothers has already acquired two properties within walking distance of Brigham Young University: 9 and 9 Lofts and Park Plaza. Beginning in May 2018, the Lofts will be completely torn down and rebuilt, continuing the Nelson Brothers tradition of high quality housing. Park Plaza will undergo similar renovations soon after.
As Nelson Brothers has learned in disrupting the nation’s student housing market on its way to the 2017 Inc. 500, success is seated in novel approaches to evolving needs — the philosophy that gave rise to Silicon Slopes, the backdrop for this innovative real estate collective.