The Temple News staff has voiced concern for student housing numerous times throughout the last two years. The growing student population, the addition of the Tyler students and the rental conflicts in Yorktown late last year have been the subjects of many news articles, editorials and readers’ letters, which all suggested the university would be wise to invest in more student housing.
So when a new dorm was announced, to be erected along the boundaries of Avenue North, progress seemed imminent. At last, the university was seeking a solution for the overcrowded campus and its vagrant students.
However, it has been made clear that the new building will not be a Temple dorm; it will not be affiliated with Temple at all. Instead, the new edifice will sit at Broad and Oxford streets behind the Pearl theater. The building – a project by Tower Investments, which built the Edge – will house 1,100 students in its 300 rooms spread out over 14 stories.
As of now, there is no timeline nor architectural plans, but the project is estimated at $50 million. It is not clear if the university will buy some floors, as it did with the Edge. Furthermore, the building will sit elevated atop the existing parking lot. The lot will remain as is; it will not become a parking garage, shopping strip or anything else.
This is isn’t exactly what The Temple News had in mind when it called for more student housing.
This is Tower CEO Brad Blatstein’s attempt to cash in on the housing restrictions in Yorktown. The growing number of students who can’t live in residence halls, and those who would normally look to Yorktown to solve their housing problems, will now turn to this new building. Blatstein is a genius.
Since the building is in its preliminary stages with no set plans, it’s anyone’s guess what the structure will look like. Students eager to live in new housing will sign leases for unfinished rooms, and come the start of a new semester, could find themselves living in . . . the Edge? Or something very similar to the metal-on-cinder block look of the building.
Blatstein has Temple students right where he wants them. He’s in the position to house 1,100 students behind a movie theater, next to a strip mall and across the street from Progress Plaza, just one block from Main Campus. Though students may be disappointed in the new building once it’s been constructed, they won’t be able to argue its convenience. And the university won’t be able to argue that of all those conveniences, not one is related to Temple.
The economy is floundering, administrators are making budget cuts and the university is sitting on three vacant lots it purchased for a combined $4,601. This is a perfect opportunity for Temple to meet students’ needs and make money, but the university is not taking advantage of it.