Dormitory-style housing may be coming to the University of North Georgia Gainesville campus in Oakwood.
A private developer’s plans for a 488-bedroom complex — or 122 four-bedroom “pods” spread over four five-story buildings — was recommended for approval Tuesday, Jan. 22, by the Oakwood Planning Commission.
Suwanee-based GAH Holding LLC’s proposal, which involves annexation and rezoning of 6.82 acres off Atlanta Highway/Ga. 13 and Frontage Road, now goes to the Oakwood City Council for final consideration.
“We believe that this proposed student housing is definitely a much-needed project with the ever-growing (UNG) campus,” said Eric Johansen, spokesman for the project, to the commission.
Johansen went on to describe the complex inside and out.
Each of the four-unit pods would have a living room, a kitchenette, bathrooms in each individually locked bedroom, and a laundry area.
“It’s very similar to what you see in today’s modern dormitory-style houses that kids are living in,” he said. “Everything that they would need from a living standpoint would be inside their pod.”
Each building could feature study areas, coffee bars, gyms and plazas.
“We’ve even talked about possibly a rooftop plaza on one or two of the buildings to take advantage of the grounds that we’re proposing and also overlooking the city and the views back over (Interstate) 985 and the surrounding area,” Johansen said.
The complex wouldn’t have a gated entrance, “but each building would have security access,” he said.
Complex amenities include a swimming pool, green spaces for outdoors games and connection to Hall County’s walking trail that runs alongside Ga. 13 to Chicopee Village.
“It’s very important to have this feel like resort-style living for these kids,” Johansen said. “Yes, we want them to go to college, but we also want them to have fun while they’re on the site.”
Rents could run from $600 to $700 monthly per bedroom. Officials said families could save on costs of students using a car and paying car insurance while at school, as the complex is within walking distance of campus.
“This is a very expensive project, from the site work to the construction of the buildings,” Johansen said. “Tens of millions of dollars, or more.”
Officials said if all goes well, they would like to start construction this year.
More housing for students was a popular topic among developers proposing housing developments in Oakwood last year.
Construction is underway on 18 rental cottages at 2988 Frontage Road, near the Thurmon Tanner Parkway entrance to UNG and near the Hayes Chrysler dealership off Frontage.
The cottages are within walking distance of the campus. They will feature rents of $1,650-$1,800 per month, or potentially up to $600 per roommate.
“There’s really a sore spot here for not having housing for University of North Georgia,” said Gainesville lawyer Steve Gilliam, representing the applicant, in September, when the cottages were approved.
And a 348-unit apartment complex off Mundy Mill Road OK’d by the Oakwood City Council on Nov. 12 likely will be marketed to college students.
“This property is designed specifically to take advantage of the growth of the University of North Georgia (campus in Oakwood),” said Kurt Alexander, principal with The Residential Group, at the meeting.