Two Binghamton University alumni are trying their hand at Downtown student housing with the planned Chenango Place on Court Street set to open fall 2014.
Ron Kutas ‘06, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, and Ian Bel ‘06, who graduated with a bachelor’s degreee in philosophy, politics and law, converted the historic Fair Store into 47 apartments containing 176 bedrooms.
“The location is perfectly situated on the water, right next to a newly renovated river trail,” Kutas said. “It’s a very historically symbolic property and a unique building.”
Kutas stayed in the area for another year to manage some properties he had purchased during his undergraduate years. Kutas now lives in New York City but decided to expand his operations in Binghamton.
“We wanted to be part of the modern revitalization effort of Downtown. I love the charm that Binghamton has,” Kutas said. “It really has a small town and community feel while being a good-sized city. It’s really laid-back here and provides for a nice quality of life.”
Prices of the units depend on several factors, but will generally be between $700 and $1,000 per month, including utilities. Options include a range of unit configurations and apartment sizes. The apartments range from studio to six-bedroom.
Many students are interested in the prospect of additional housing options, but have reservations about the cost of Chenango Place.
“I’m considering moving off campus next year, and I’ve heard it can be cheaper than living on campus if you go to the right place, but I feel like [Chenango Place] might end up more expensive after all is said and done,” said Paul Miller, a junior majoring in English.
On-campus housing will cost students anywhere from $4,148 per semester for a double in College-in-the-Woods or Hinman College to $5,070 for a single in Dickinson Community or Newing College. This breaks down to between $830 to $1,014 per month, including breaks when students are not permitted to remain on campus.
Some students expressed concerns about the new apartments.
“I’d rather move in to a more established apartment,” said Glenn Rohan, a freshman majoring in philosophy, politics and law. “That way you can ask around and find out what you’re getting into. Plus, this complex is more expensive than others I have seen.”
The developers are relying on the uniqueness of their building to attract students who may be wary about the idea.
“We believe that quality of construction is the best available and so are the views,” Kutas said. “Washers and dryers, granite counter tops, the game lounge and cinema, along with the proximity to retail, are all reasons why this development is different.”
Among the current options for student housing are University Plaza apartments, which start at $675 per month, 20 Hawley Street, which ranges from $795 to $1,050 per month, and Twin River Commons, which ranges from $720 to $1,200 per month.
The grand opening of the building is set for Oct. 26, which is also when leases will first be available.