Demand high for developers

In the first week of online leasing, the 14-story View at Montgomery apartment complex sold between 5 and 10 percent of available units, with more expected to go as students return to campus following winter break and begin to look for future housing, a spokesperson for the building said. 

The View is the latest in a string of private student housing developments that have begun sprouting up around Main Campus as more and more students begin to challenge Temple’s long-held reputation as a commuter school.

With a rise in demand for off-campus housing, a battle has been created over available space to construct new residential buildings, several of which provide space for hundreds of students.

Goldenberg Group, which purchased the property of the former John Wanamaker Middle School from the School District of Philadelphia in 2008 for $10.75 million, did so as part of a partnership with Bright Hope Baptist Church. That agreement has since been restructured, and future plans for the remaining 2.5 acres of undeveloped space on the property are undergoing continued reassessment.

Kevin Trapper, a senior vice president at Goldenberg Group, declined to comment on the developer’s future plans for the property or its relationship with Bright Hope Baptist Church, and said he was focused on the current property in development.

Representatives from Bright Hope Baptist Church did not respond to multiple requests to speak on the subject of their relationship with Goldenberg Group.

Another nearby piece of real estate on sale by the school district, the vacant William Penn High School on North Broad Street, has attracted interest by the university and private developers.

After announcing Temple’s interest in the property last fall,

James Creedon, senior vice president for construction, facilities and operations, said the university submitted an expression of interest to the district in mid-December, including an overview of what the property might be used for.

Creedon said the front part of the building could be repurposed if the university was to receive the property, and it would also look at using the back part of the property for athletic fields. The much-speculated about on-campus football stadium is not in the university’s vision for use of the property, he said.

Fernando Gallard, a spokesperson for the school district, declined to say how many bids the district received on the property, saying such speculation is “not beneficial towards overall real estate.”

William Penn High School was one of 21 properties listed for sale and requesting expressions of interest, Gallard said. The school district received 18 total responses for properties.

In September, The Temple News reported that the university had previously submitted a bid for the Wanamaker School property that was ultimately won by the Bright Hope/Goldenberg Group partnership.

This spring, the university is expected to release its Visualize Temple initiative, a project that by then will have been a year in the making, and is expected to include a substantial relook at Main Campus space and new building projects.

The View at Montgomery apartment complex has room to house more than 800 students in one- to four-bedroom apartments. The complex also includes study space, a lounge, a 24/7 gym, standup tanning beds, washer and dryer units with personal allotment cards and lease options for 80 parking spaces.

In addition, the complex will hold 11,000 square feet of retail space, with agreements already signed for Chipotle and Potbelly Sandwich Shop restaurants. Mark Caltabiano, a manager at the View at Montgomery for Asset Campus Housing, which is handling leases for the property, said discussions are ongoing with several clients to fill two to three other spaces by next fall.

Asset Campus Housing recently opened a small office on the site’s property, complete with sample kitchens and flooring for students interested in leasing. Electronic leases are also available on the building’s website. Prices are based on individual situations, Caltabiano said.

“The spaces are flying off the shelf,” Caltabiano said, adding that several floor plans have already sold out.

John Moritz can be reached at john.moritz@temple.edu or on Twitter @JCMoritzTU.

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