New apartment complexes and rentals have opened in the past few years, including Lux at Central Park, 140 West Franklin and Shortbread Lofts. These apartments offer new lifestyles for residents, said Chapel Hill Town Council member Michael Parker.
“I think what these apartments represent is a new type of housing in Chapel Hill, the high-rise rental apartments, which we really have not had in the past,” Parker said. “I think it will be interesting to see how the market takes them up.”
He said he hesitates to use the term “luxury apartments” to describe the new, more expensive housing options, because he said branding them luxury apartment prejudices people against them.
Nancy Oates, Chapel Hill Town Council member, said the rise of high-cost apartments means changes for the town.
“We are tending to approve a lot of apartments that will rent for a higher amount than the types of jobs we have in Chapel Hill,” Oates said.
The growth of new apartment buildings will have a drastic effect on the town and the University, Oates said.
“When we’re building something, it is very important that we have an idea of who wants to live in what kind of housing and before we do something I really want to make sure that that is how people want to live,” she said.
Shortbread Lofts, one of the most expensive luxury student housing options in Chapel Hill, has seen rising interest since opening in 2014.
Applications opened on Oct.17 for the 2017-2018 academic year at Shortbread Lofts and all apartments were filled within five hours, said Paige Johnson, leasing and marketing manager at Shortbread Lofts.
“Last year it took us 17 days to fill up and this year it was more high demand,” Johnson said. “I think we offer the most campus-friendly amenities and we are very student-oriented — we want to make things that fit the students’ preferences.”
Shannon Gallagher, UNC senior, said the amenities and newness of the apartments is what drew her to live at Shortbread Lofts for the last two years.
“It’s only two years old, so there are new appliances that have never really broken down for us and the location is great,” she said.
Amenities such as workout rooms, study lounges, printing, coffee stations and rooftop spaces are sometimes reasons the apartments are more expensive.
“It’s expensive — that’s the biggest downside that it has — but you’re paying for the niceness of it, the equipment and everything like that,” Gallagher said.