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Tri-City students are snapping up new WSU apartments. Now there’s another option

Sneak peek of The Brelsford Vineyards Apartments

Developer Duane Brelsford is anxious for the community to tour his newly opened apartments in north Richland. The first phase of The Brelsford Vineyards Apartments complex is located adjacent to the WSU Tri-Cities branch campus.
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Developer Duane Brelsford is anxious for the community to tour his newly opened apartments in north Richland. The first phase of The Brelsford Vineyards Apartments complex is located adjacent to the WSU Tri-Cities branch campus.

Less than a month after finishing construction, apartments at WSU Tri-Cities’ new student housing unit are selling fast.

It’s filling up so quickly that the developer and property manager already is splitting up some units and renting them by the bed.

Construction on the initial 81 units at the Brelsford Vineyard apartments wrapped up late last month. One-bedroom apartments already are sold out.

That’s not unusual, said Kerri Jo Staniszewski, project manager for Corporate Pointe, a college housing developer.

One-bedroom spaces usually fill up first, Staniszewski said. The renters may want to live alone or just don’t have roommates.

Staniszewski said the surprising part of the trend is the $895 price tag — thought it might not be that odd in the Tri-Cities’ tight rental market.

The latest report from the University of Washington’s Runstad Department of Real Estate showed a 1.8 percent vacancy rate for all apartments in Benton and Franklin market this spring.

Facing such high demand, property managers at Brelsford have started leasing the three-bedroom units per bed.

Corporate Pointe is opening up some apartments for tours to give potential renters an idea of what they’re like.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration is planned for 4-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

Duane Brelsford Apartments
Developer Duane Brelsford stands outside the recently completed apartment building he constructed adjacent to the Washington State University Tri-Cities campus in Richland. The first phase of the complex has 81 units and features an outdoor pool, sports courts, and an indoor recreation area. An open house celebration is scheduled for October 10. Watch a video at: tricityherald.com/video Bob Brawdy Tri-City Herald

“We are extremely excited to be a part of the WSU family in Richland,” Corporate Pointe developer Duane Brelsford said. “Furthermore, we are focused on providing a full-time living experience for WSU students where they can live and learn, next to the WSU campus.”

The rents range up to $2,000 for a four-bedroom, and fit within the average for the region, according to figures from Marcus and Millchap, a commercial real estate company.

The developer hasn’t committed to when they may start the next phase of the project.

Plans called for seven phases, with room for 700 occupants. Staniszewski said the ground is prepared for when they decide to start the next phase.

While students and university professionals get preference, the developer marketed the apartment building to professionals at the nearby businesses connected to the university, she said.

After picking Corporate Pointe in 2016 to lease the property, WSU Tri-Cities officials have largely divorced themselves from it, but it still benefits the school and the students, college officials said.

In particular, the campus is looking at Walla Walla and Yakima counties. Most students from outside the Tri-Cities come from there, according to the university’s Office of Institutional Research. As of 2017, those numbers were increasing.

The Brelsford Vineyards has no programming connection with the university, so it has no residence advisers or educational programs.

Corporate Pointe said it has a property manager on site who heads up a couple of social programs.

Even without university involvement, Chris Meiers, the vice chancellor of student affairs, said he expects students will do better living closer to their classes and the other resources on campus.

“They are also more likely to connect with their peers on a personal level and are more encouraged to get involved in campus programming, which reinforces persistence and academic success,” he said.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402; Twitter: @cameroncprobert
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