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The Cottages a new era in student living

That sizable new development

The living room and kitchen are shown for a five-bedroom/bath duplex at The Cottages of New Mexico, where the opening wave of move-ins is scheduled Aug. 16, when food trucks, a DJ and a parent 'happy hour' are scheduled.

The living room and kitchen are shown for a five-bedroom/bath duplex at The Cottages of New Mexico, where the opening wave of move-ins is scheduled Aug. 16, when food trucks, a DJ and a parent ‘happy hour’ are scheduled.

going in right off Interstate 25 at the Sunport, that’s the Cottages of New Mexico and the latest example of student housing’s evolution from cell-like rooms in campus dormitories and random rentals out in the neighborhood.

Developed on about 21 acres at the northeast corner of Sunport Boulevard and I-25 – gateway to the municipal airport – The Cottages resembles a gated resort community of some standalone units but mostly two-story duplex and triplex residences with a clubhouse and pool.

Capstone Collegiate Communities of Birmingham, Ala., will take about a year to turn what was a rolling barren site in early August 2013 into a neighborhood ready for move-ins in mid-August 2014. Over the course of the project, the company says from 150-250 construction workers were on site on any given work day.

Each bedroom has a private bath at The Cottages, which is Capstone Collegiate Communities' student housing project near the Sunport.

Each bedroom has a private bath at The Cottages, which is Capstone Collegiate Communities’ student housing project near the Sunport.

As of mid-June, Blair Hebert, Capstone vice president of marketing and leasing, said the 162-unit, 786-bed rental community was just over three-quarters leased.

Based on city building permits issued to Capstone, The Cottages consists of 68 buildings with a total of about 264,000 square feet of space under roof. Based on permit values, the construction cost is about $21.4 million, which makes it one of the big building projects of the year in Albuquerque.

Tenants rent by the bedroom, as opposed to renting the entire unit with living room and kitchen, in the same fashion as at the 864-bed Lobo Village and the 1,028-bed Casas del Rio built on the University of New Mexico campus by private developer American Campus Communities.

The business model of renting by the bedroom makes tenants liable for only the monthly rent on their individual room. If one resident leaves, then the remaining roommates don’t have to cover his or her rent.

One thing that distinguishes The Cottages from Lobo Village and Casas del Rio is that the latter are three- and four-story apartment buildings, thus the tenants will have other units above or below them, or both.

The clubhouse and pool, shown here under construction in mid-June, will be the focal point of the gated student housing community, which will have 786 residents at full capacity.

The clubhouse and pool, shown here under construction in mid-June, will be the focal point of the gated student housing community, which will have 786 residents at full capacity.

“Not only do we give students their own two-story homes rather than apartments, we also allow pets, furniture options and coed living,” said Lindsey Maestas, manager of The Cottages in an email.

The centerpiece of The Cottages is the two-story, 11,700-square-foot clubhouse that will be accessible to residents 24/7.

In addition to an outside swimming pool, the building will have a fitness center with free saunas, steam rooms and tanning beds. It also will have an equipped game room, study rooms and business center. Outside amenities include grills, fire pits and pet-washing stations.

“We will offer tutoring, free aerobics classes and plenty of events to get the students involved both socially and academically,” Maestas said.

The community’s location at 3003 Transport SE, roughly three miles south of UNM’s main campus, has been described as the closest vacant parcel of sufficient size for a housing development like The Cottages. Shuttle service to and from campus will be available to residents.

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