Temple hopes to promote safety with new student housing plans

The plans include partnerships with nearby student housing properties and a new mixed-use development.

Development planning is already underway and the university is hoping that construction can begin in early 2024. | ROBERT JOSEPH CRUZ / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple administrators have introduced multiple projects to bring student housing closer to Main Campus in an effort to address decreasing enrollment and improve safety in and near the Temple community.

The university is exploring the development of a mixed use, residential and retail space with approximately 850 beds on Broad Street and has also partnered with the Edge Avenue North Complex on Oxford near 15th Street to offer student housing at a discounted rate.

Temple’s efforts follow an uptick in crime on and near Main Campus this past spring semester. Fifty-eight percent of students believed that safety was the biggest issue facing the university, according to a March 2023 poll conducted by The Temple News.

The new project on North Broad will be developed between Oxford and Jefferson Streets across from the Sullivan Progress Plaza Shopping Center. Temple purchased the land between 2009 and 2014 for $4.3 million, Philadelphia Business Journal reported

The project will be a public-private partnership, meaning Temple will lease the land to Landmark Properties, a strategic planning and development company. Landmark Properties will then operate the project and the property when it is completed, which is expected to be in Fall 2026, said Jonathan Reiter, associate vice president of finance.

Development planning is already underway and the university is hoping that construction can begin in early 2024, Reiter said.

The 28-story “Legacy on Broad” project will sit on 21,000 square feet of ground floor retail and a level of underground parking, wrote a spokesperson for Landmark Properties. Units will be available at a variety of price points and will range from studios to six-bedroom apartments. 

Proposed projects, like the development on North Broad, are intended to bring students closer to campus, which will cultivate more activity in the campus’ main corridor, Reiter said.

“The more people, the more retail, the more beds, the more activity we can bring to Broad Street, the safer it is,” Reiter said. “You know, more activity, more density, all things that we want to do. So this is all about bringing students out of the neighborhood and giving them good options on Broad Street.”

The university’s new partnership with Edge Avenue North Complex also promotes students living closer to campus. In April, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Ken Kaiser announced that the university secured 126 beds at the Edge at a reduced rate for returning, transfer or graduate students, aimed at making them feel more safe on and near campus.

“Encouraging students to live as close to the main campus as possible is one step towards this solution,” Kaiser wrote.

The Edge has reserved two building floors exclusively for Temple students, said Bailey O’Grady, community manager at the apartment complex. Students who apply through the university will pay their rent to the Edge, but don’t need a guarantor and will go through a different screening process than Edge applicants, she added.

When a student chooses to rent under the new discounted program, The Edge sends information to the university to verify that they are a student.

The university has received positive responses about the new plan, with 103 Temple students currently signed up to rent under the new partnership, paying about $600 to $650 per month. Some students had lived in the building before the new arrangement and are switching to the discounted rate, O’Grady said.

The Edge offers flexibility, giving students on-campus prices for an off-campus experience with more freedom, O’Grady said. Students receive single-occupancy bedrooms with a communal living room, she added.

“I think some students are enjoying that aspect because they have the essence of on-campus without some of those same, more strict rules that you receive generally on-campus just across the country,” O’Grady said.

The main goal of the new housing initiatives is to present more housing options to students, and is not related to a lack of space in student housing, Reiter added.

At this point, The Edge is currently the only option for reduced rates and Reiter could not confirm if similar options will be pursued with other nearby apartments, like The View at Montgomery, Vantage or Kardon/Atlantic.

The Edge Avenue North Complex meets Diamond Status criteria for Temple’s Best Nest Program, a self-certification program designed for properties in Temple’s police patrol zone.

The Best Nest program and the Edge partnership are part of the university’s response to safety and enrollment issues, which former president Jason Wingard said are “inextricably linked” in a March 24 announcement. The university paused some parts of its strategic plan, like community engagement and educational value, to focus on these issues.

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