College housing the Dayton way?

It’s not often that I quote myself in posts, but for this one, it seems appropriate- I wrote this back in January. I dedicated to F.B.- who didn’t make it out of the hospital, R.I.P. You are missed. Here is the excerpt:

Rooming houses, the regulated and inspected type, aren’t that much different from hotels that rent by the week or month, they just don’t have corporate branding attached. We find no problem with an “extended stay hotel”- but a rooming house is considered one step above a drug den.

Maybe as a strategy to bringing people back to Dayton and spark urban revitalization, we need to look at bringing back the rooming house as an accepted form of residential housing. Tough times, require some new looks at old ideas.

via Is it time for Dayton to rethink rooming houses?.

And here is another reason: Sinclair is having record enrollment. I heard 30K plus. And, not a single bit of “on campus” housing. Forcing students to drive- making parking a pain. Using lots of fossil fuels.

Aren’t these the potential young hipsters that upDayton wants to keep? Hmmm.

Now, let’s talk about UD. Remember the place they call “the ghetto”- well, drive through and it doesn’t look anything like a ghetto anymore. In fact, it looks like a really nice urban neighborhood with lots of young people walking the streets. But, it wasn’t always so.

The secret, is UD bought all the houses from a Ghetto lord who was making a lot of money. You see, renting a house by the month, or even the semester is only OK. You might get $600-$800 month in rent. Call a semester three months and you are at $1,800 to $2,400. But, divide it up and rent per person- and you ask $500 per semester- cram 2 people per room- in a three bedroom house- and you now have $9000 in rent. Ka-Ching!

Now, if you are just Ghetto lord, that’s bad. But if you are UD- it’s good.

And maybe, we should consider having Sinclair adopt a neighborhood and fill it full of students? Start with Five Oaks and Dayton View. Run shuttles back and forth. Fix up those big old homes and rent them out like hotels.

What- you say Sinclair shouldn’t be in the housing business? How right you are. Let’s let the private sector do it. WSU is having dorms built left and right by private business. How do we get this to happen? Take some of those boarded up homes and vacant lots and package them. Give a tax abatement equal to the dollars invested in the rehab. Maybe even offer students a tuition break for living in these rehabbed houses and helping repopulate the neighborhood- and getting involved in civic service in the neighborhoods.

Could we start seeing a decrease in boarded up vacant homes? Do you have a better idea?

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7 Responses

  1. Gene September 9, 2009 / 9:23 pm
    I know people that have tried to get housing for Sinclair for years – and they are working on it now. Too much red tape (liberals, now go see YOUR government about this.) It has been with Sinclair, without Sinclair, with Dayton, without Dayton. People have been working on it, there just really is not have enough cash from any of the above parties.

    YES, they need housing.

    Ghetto really refers to a group of “like” people living together, but yes there is a suggestion of “run down” or “slum” often attached to it. There are still a few private homes down in the UD ghetto, if that matters.

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  2. Matt September 9, 2009 / 9:48 pm
    I think it would be great to find a private developer or a community development corporation to focus on student housing for Sinclair students. It would be awesome to have more young people downtown (or inner ring) around the clock instead of coming in and then leaving in the afternoon. Savannah College of Art and Design has literally transformed Savannah by rehabbing buildings and making student housing, studios, and urban classrooms. Private sector would be necessary. I’ve only heard this second hand but I believe Sinclair, by the nature of its charter, is barred by Ohio Revised Code from engaging in housing activities. Of course maybe it’s time that the largest community college in the state take the step to become more than a community college.

    Nice alternative to the housing demos. Kudos.

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  3. David Esrati September 9, 2009 / 10:16 pm

    @Matt- actually, I don’t want Sinclair in the housing business- I want to make it possible to do rooming houses/dorms whatever- without running into problems. Only on homes that are getting close to the wrecking ball.

    Also- an interesting story/rumor was that Arthur Beerman blocked Sinclair from doing any kind of retail around the school, fearing it would hurt his department store. Don’t you find it odd- no bars, restaurants, Kinkos, etc- anywhere nearby? Now that old Art has departed- and so has his store- maybe it’s time to build some student oriented retail? Urban Outfitters, Chipotle, etc?

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  4. Jeff September 10, 2009 / 4:16 pm
    What UD did with the ghetto was fabulous.  Typical approach would be to tear it all down and build some shlocktastic new housing.  Instead they kept the neighborhood and put new stuff in that fits in with the old.  Outstanding approach.
     
     
    Not sure if I posted on that SRO thread you linked to.  The loss of this housing depopulated a lot of downtowns.  These places were often used by old single retirees.  The apartmetns on the 3rd Street side of the Arcade was an SRO of sorts (and maybe this would be a good location for Sinclair housing since its just down the street).
     
    Also- an interesting story/rumor was that Arthur Beerman blocked Sinclair from doing any kind of retail around the school, fearing it would hurt his department store.
     
     
    …I don’t think that’s true.  Beerman was the redevelopment partner with the city on Center City West, but Sinclair was a latecomer to that plan.  Original plan was to have a convention center/arena there.   Retail was never considered..Center City West was to be offices, an expanded civic center, and hotels, with high rise apartments were the Landing is today.
     

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  5. Civil Servants are People, Too September 10, 2009 / 8:25 pm
    It is true that Sinclair is not legally allowed to provide housing.

    There were also rumours of a developer buying the former Dayton Daily building downtown for student apartments.

    Ohio Revised Code» TITLE [33] XXXIII EDUCATION — LIBRARIES
    CHAPTER 3354: COMMUNITY COLLEGES

    3354.121 Acquiring auxiliary or education facilities.
    (A) Each community college district may acquire, by purchase, lease, lease-purchase, lease with option to purchase, or otherwise, construct, equip, furnish, reconstruct, alter, enlarge, remodel, renovate, rehabilitate, improve, maintain, repair, and operate, and lease to or from others, auxiliary facilities or education facilities, except housing and dining facilities, and may pay for the facilities out of available receipts of such district.

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  6. redladydayton September 11, 2009 / 12:12 pm
    I live near the “UD Ghetto”, and I can’t say enough how much I appreciate the work that UD has done there. OBTW, part of the “rent” that UD collects per semester also pays all the utilities, trash removal, snow removal (includes sidewalks), all of the maintenance and provides for a 24 police department that patrols throughout student housing.
    The rumors of “Sinclair Housing” have been around for a long time. Part of the desire for “housing” at Sinclair, is to help it step out from its “commuter college” role, and provide more services for its students. It would allow those students that work, to be able to take a job nearer campus, and cut down on all of the running back and forth, which really wears you down after a while. It would also enable students to take more advantage of the “after-class” services and facilities.
    Keeping more students downtown, would definitely provide vitality that Dayton really needs. If a statute in the ORC is in the way, than let’s get it changed. It just makes sense.

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  7. Jeff September 11, 2009 / 4:21 pm
    ^
    Agree.  Seems like changing the state law is pretty minor, if we can get our statehouse delegation on board with it.
     
     
     

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