Boasting fully furnished apartments complete with flat screen TVs in every bedroom and concierge service, the 12-story Edge at Avenue North, located at 1600 N. Broad St., is the latest mega-housing project to accommodate the ever-growing student body at Temple.
But for many of the nearly 1,000 new residents, the luxuries advertised do not quite live up to expectations. To make matters worse, construction is far from complete.
“It’s just not finished,” tenant Lauren Blough, a junior psychology major said. “One of the elevators is closed to passengers, the gym is not ready yet and there is no fire extinguisher on the fourth floor.
“Some of my friends have even had leaks which caused water damage and people already complained about seeing mice,” Blough said.
Construction on The Edge was started by the New Jersey-
based Torcon, Inc. more than a year and a half ago in the early months of the 2005 spring semester.
In spite of the shortcomings, Steven Eltz, assistant coordinator for Off-Campus Living with Temple University stressed that the structure is safe to inhabit.
“The Edge was awarded a certificate of occupancy by the city of Philadelphia, so it’s licensed and officially ready to go,” Eltz said. “And everyone was able to be moved in by the start of classes.”
However, The Edge was barely ready in time and even had to push back their original move-in date from Aug. 14 to Aug. 23 due to unfinished construction, leaving some students like junior Michelle Mogavero without a place to live.
“My previous lease ended Aug. 19, so I had no plan B when they notified us,” Mogavero said. “I told them that I was basically homeless, because I had no where else to stay and I couldn’t take everything back to my home in Maryland.”
She and the others unable to hold off on moving until the later date were put up in the DoubleTree Hotel, in Center
City at 237 South Broad St. on The Edge’s tab, belongings included.
“We had about 20 Temple students here,” Tom Russell,
concierge at the DoubleTree, said. “Some stayed a few nights and others for more than a week.
“It’s not uncommon for University of the Arts students to do the same when housing isn’t done on their campus, so we’re always ready,” Russell explained.
“Even though they had all their possessions,
our rooms are generally big enough and if not, we put some boxes in the bellman closets.”
“The entire time we were at the DoubleTree,
it was wonderful,” Mogavero said.
“Everyone that worked there treated us very well and we took full advantage of the pool and hot tub.”
In addition, The Edge also provided U-Hauls for the displaced students for their move back up Broad Street Aug. 22 and Aug. 23.
“I really appreciated the Edge stepping up and taking care of that,” Mogavero said.
“But the drama continued when we finally saw our room. There were huge pieces of plywood in our living room and broken glass in the kitchen,” she said.
“It took two hours to clean before I could even unpack.
“Now that we’re moved in, it’s more like a dorm than an apartment,” Mogavero explained. “We each have kitchenettes but no ovens. Coming from an apartment last year, it’s kind of a step down.”
A handful of students are even trying to break their lease by stating various grievances. But that is easier said than done.
“Unfortunately for these residents, just because their units weren’t favorable, that alone is not a legitimate reason to break a lease,” Eltz said. “A lease is a legally binding document and it can be extremely difficult to break.
“It’s important to read your whole lease very carefully,” Eltz said. “Know what you’re entitled to and make sure alternative accommodations are included in case something arises like this.”
Edge officials refused to comment, though one construction worker, who did not want his name used for fear of retribution at his job, told “The Temple News” that everything would be finished by Sept. 23.
“Most of what still needs to be completed is just cosmetic,” he said.
“Electrical outlets, holes in walls and painting. Minor stuff like that.”
So for now, residents will just have to be patient for the building to be complete.
To avoid this type of situation, Mogavero offered a piece of advice to fellow students.
“It’s not the best idea to put your money down on any housing before it’s built,” she said. “You never know.”
Cody Glenn can be reached at email@example.com.