February 26, 2014 by David Klein
University Crossings will undergo renovation starting this spring and continue throughout the next year, resulting in a four-month closure of the complex in the summer of 2015.
According to Jason Wills, the senior vice president of on-campus development for American Campus Communities, which owns University Crossings, most of the renovations will be on the exterior of the complex. Interior changes will include new retail space, which Wills said they hope to open by the fall, as well as additions to Drexel office and classroom space in the lower levels of the building.
“Most important of all is improving the student residential spaces. So we are going to go into the units and put more efficient lighting systems in, we are going to paint them, we are going to re-carpet and really work on the surfaces and the feel of the units. They are really spacious and they have beautiful, large windows and we are just going to try to kind of enhance those spaces. In the kitchens we’re probably going to put in all new appliances and make new sinks and surfaces,” Wills said.
Amenities in the building, such as the fitness room and theater, will also undergo renovations.
Though the complex is always filled with residents, many students have complaints about the building.
Stephany Rosa, a sophomore computer engineering major who lives on a floor designated as Drexel housing, complained, “The elevators are always an issue. Half the time they are out of order or very, very slow. We have a lot of leaks especially in the hallways. Noise is always an issue as the walls are very, very thin here.”
She also commented on a shortage of laundry facilities. Despite those shortcomings, she said she enjoys living in University Crossings.
Wills explained that the renovations will hopefully address many residents’ complaints: “We are going to put in better quality laundry rooms and a better trash system, try to freshen up the corridors and bring in new lighting.”
Wills acknowledged these as preliminary plans with the main goal of the renovation being to modernize the building.
The closure of the building may be an unexpected hiccup in the lives of many residents and Drexel students who are used to a 12-month leasing cycle.
According to Wills, residents were informed of next year’s nine-month lease structure through emails and postings around the building.
Christine Piccirillo, a junior entertainment and arts management major who does not live in the building but will be moving in next year, felt that she was not informed before signing a lease and said that the shorter lease was never mentioned to her when she dealt with a leasing agent.
“I know traditionally that [University Crossings] had always been a year-long lease from September to August, and that’s what I assumed was the lease until I signed it,” Piccirilo said, “And until the last page, nobody mentioned the fact that it was a nine-month lease. So I thought that was a little ridiculous that they didn’t seem to mention that to people who were signing a lease that things have changed from the past.”
While the apartments on floors designated as Drexel housing are slightly more expensive than others in University Crossings, Rosa explained that many students find them more convenient because those residents that pay Drexel directly can use various forms of financial aid to pay rent.
Though the structure is owned by American Campus Communities, the land it sits on and the air rights are properties of Drexel University, according to Robert Francis, vice president of facilities at Drexel.