Undergraduate off-campus housing offers variety of options

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About 60 percent of UM undergraduates live off campus. While housing options around the university provide independent living experiences, they can also seem daunting to some students.

The Office of Housing and Residential Life (HRL), located in Eaton 153, can help guide students making the transition from living on campus to off campus. Students can make an appointment to speak with an expert who will assist them in making the move off campus. The HRL website also provides resources such as apartment complex listings, a roommate finder and the off-campus housing handbook.

However, the website should not replace a face-to-face meeting, according to the Director of Housing Operations Jon Baldessari.

“It is not really a substitute for having a conversation with someone who knows the area, who knows the complexes … that kind of consultation is really important to narrow down the search,” he said.

Baldessari encouraged all students who are considering living off campus to attend the annual Off-Campus Housing Fair on April 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the University Center. The fair will be an opportunity for landlords, realtors and management companies to share information with students looking to move off campus.

“Sometimes people have no idea where to start; they just know they want to live off campus. The fair is their way to jump-start that process,” Baldessari said.

Perhaps the most popular off-campus destination for UM students is Red Road Commons (RRC), an apartment complex located within walking distance from the university, one mile south from the center of campus. UM students make up about 90 percent of tenants there, according to complex’s leasing office.

RRC offers six different floor plans: two single-room models at 600 and 764 square feet cost about $1,700 and $2,000 per month in rent, respectively. The first of the two-bed, two-bath units is 885 square feet and runs about $2,200 per month (rent fluctuates based on the time of year), while a slightly larger two-bed, two-bath model with 1,002 square feet costs about $3,000. Their three-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments are 3,200 square feet and cost about $3,200 per month. Their three-bedroom, three-bathroom model is 1,520 square feet and costs about $4,000 per month.

RRC offers tenants a number of amenities, too: a heated outdoor pool with barbecue grills, a courtyard with gazebos for leisure, a 24-hour fitness center and a dog park.

“Having a balcony and your own kitchen is pretty sweet. In general, I’m happy,” said Daniel Tirado, a junior biology major who lives in the complex.

The University Inn is another option for students who are not looking to travel far. The British colonial-style hotel is found right across campus on the other side of U.S. 1 and offers residents an outdoor pool with a Jacuzzi and a clubhouse.

With two unit types, the Inn caters more to smaller groups of two or three roommates. One model is 620 square feet and costs between $1,400-1,650 per month depending on its location in the building. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom option offers two models; the first is 840 square feet and costs about $1,800 per month, the second is 916 square feet and is nearly $2,500 per month.

Leo Li, a junior studying accounting, said he felt satisfied with his experience at the Inn.

“I like living in the University Inn, I can’t complain much. The surroundings are a lot more quiet compared to Red Road and the University Village,” Li said. “Freddy, the security guard, is a very cool guy you can have a chat with.”

Freshman Denise Ozturk said although she is looking forward to the challenge of being independent and living off campus, timing is important.

“I considered living off campus for next year, but I feel that I need more time to adjust and that living on campus for another year would give me the opportunity to build stronger relationships,” she said.

Alex Meyer, also a freshman, expressed more confidence about moving from campus.

“I’m excited to move off of campus next semester. It will be a more independent lifestyle,” Meyer said.

Another historically popular housing option for students leaving campus is the apartment complex Gables Ponce, situated about a mile north of campus.

Offering dozens of different floor plans, tenants have plenty of options to choose from. One-bed, one-bath units come in two variations: the studio version ranges in square footage from 596-619 feet and costs around $1,800 per month; the non-studio is 623-939 square feet and costs $1,900-2,800 per month. The two-bedroom, two-bath units range from 1,071-1,290 square feet and cost upwards of $2,900 per month, while the 3/2 models are a spacious 1411-1453 square feet starting at $5,000 per month.

Gables Ponce offers amenities such as a spa area with sauna and steam room, outdoor grills by the pool deck, a 24-hour fitness center, a sports and gaming room, private cabanas and a “Zen garden.”

One locale that has been growing in popularity recently is Aviva Coral Gables. Located on the corner of Bird Road and SW 39th Ave., and neighboring the luxury car dealership The Collection, this apartment complex is about a 10-minute drive from campus.

The Aviva complex has studio apartments ranging from 538-697 square feet that cost anywhere from $1,400-1,800 a month. More spacious one-bedroom, one-bathroom units with 703-1008 square feet of living space cost between $1,700-2100. Two-bedroom, two-bathroom units with 1048-1366 square feet cost between $2600-3200 a month.

Aviva offers in-house dry cleaning to its residents, a 24-hour fitness room, two pools (one heated), a Jacuzzi, barbecue grills and a “mingle room” with a coffee machine and printer.

Aside from these four popular options, Brickell, Coconut Grove and South Miami all offer apartments. Houses are also available for rent.

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