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Tours highlight amenities of University Plaza apartments

University President Lois B. DeFleur, left, and Vestal Town Supervisor Anndrea Starzak tour a loft apartment after the ribbon-cutting ceremony at University Plaza in Vestal.
More than 350 students now call University Plaza home, and the complex held a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony last Friday to inaugurate the unique mixed-use development.

“This will contribute to the attractive-ness of our University,” President Lois B. DeFleur said. “It adds a new dimension to the community we live in, Vestal.”

University Plaza includes four residen-tial buildings, providing beds for 710 students in 186 units. The retail center of the complex, which is owned and operated by Newman Development, is being turned into a college town.

The plaza’s furnished units offer a variety of floor plans and rates. A two-bedroom, two-bath apartment rents for $735 per month per person, for instance, while a four-bedroom, two-bath town-house rents for $655 per month per person. Students sign individual leases.

Every unit has features that are luxuries for many students, including full-size beds, laundry facilities, a microwave and a dishwasher.

Dignitaries, including DeFleur and Vestal Town Supervisor Anndrea Starzak, toured the complex Friday, getting a look at the amenities it offers. They include:

• A fitness center with treadmills, a stair climber and weights. • A lounge with a fireplace and plasma television as well as an adjacent billiards room with two flat-screen TVs. • Free use of a tanning bed. • A computer lab with four workstations and a laser printer.

Starzak noted the town worked with the developers from the start because the project’s mix of residential and com-mercial space presented unusual zoning issues.

“We are very excited to have this as our gateway,” she said, noting visitors arriving from Binghamton and points east will see the plaza as they come into town.

University Plaza LLC was established by the Binghamton University Foundation, through a subsidiary, the not-for-profit student housing corporation. University Plaza LLC will own the project for 30 years on land leased from Newman Dev-elopment. The plaza, which offers housing to students at Binghamton University as well as other area colleges, is being managed by Ambling Management Co. Tami Finan, regional manager for Ambling, led tours of the complex on Friday.

Visitors were especially impressed by the four-bedroom, four-bath lofts built where the Ames department store used to be. “This was a great way to utilize the existing structure,” Finan said, noting the new apartments incorporated some of the old store’s duct work. Barry Newman of Newman Develop-ment also reminded guests of the plaza’s history. “That was the Grand Union’s dairy section,” he said, pointing to a courtyard in the complex.

“This project is so great for this com-munity,” Newman added. “Everything starts with a dream and an idea.”

Finan said the complex is off to a great start with students, noting more than half of the beds are filled and she has begun receiving requests for 2006-’07 housing. “We accepted 15 applications yesterday,” she said.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08