Three impressive student housing buildings open to Canadian students during the pandemic
This story is sponsored by The Arc, The Quad at York and The Hub.
By Rachel Moore
May 14, 2021
Inside the Arc Residence
Post-secondary students should be able to have an exciting university experience without forfeiting comfort, support and amenity-filled spaces. Most student residences found on-campus feature dorm-style bedrooms and communal bathrooms shared with other students on the floor. This sort of living isn’t for everyone, especially those who are focused on their studies or students who prefer a quieter, more private environment.
The Arc, The Quad at York and The Hub are three unique student housing developments that have had to open and/or operate while navigating the challenges brought by the pandemic. These can be found in Winnipeg, Toronto and Calgary, respectively.
All three buildings have bedrooms or units that are fully furnished so students can move in by just bringing their clothes. Having to bring your own furniture or going out to purchase gently used furniture through sellers on Facebook Marketplace can be challenging. The suite-style units are also much larger than the typical closet-like dorm rooms found on-campus.
“Prior to COVID-19, trends in student housing were already moving towards bed/bath parity,” says Monica Majur, leasing manager at The Arc in Winnipeg. “We’re very lucky at The Arc as the developers had already considered a lot of these factors and we don’t have anything less than one bathroom to two beds. The majority of suites are all one bedroom to one bathroom.”
While only The Quad at York is located on-campus (York University), The Arc is located at the entrance to the University of Manitoba and The Hub is close to both the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the University of Calgary.
To ensure residents still get to experience all of the fun that comes with attending university, the properties host social events and programming. Every building also has student-focused amenities, such as a resort-style gym, large communal kitchen and lounge for additional get togethers, reliable WiFi and comfortable study spaces on each floor.
The pandemic greatly impacted the marketing and leasing of this new property, which is located across the street from the University of Manitoba. The Arc is available for all post-secondary students including those enrolled at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) or the University of Winnipeg. It is also open to those interested in co-living communities, such as recent graduates and newly working professionals.“
Construction pre-lease efforts have always relied on virtual tours, detailed floor plans and rendered videos and images because show suites are not available,” says Majur. “However, there has always been a leasing centre to have face-to-face meetings with prospective tenants. But this past year, we’ve had to rely more on video calls, live chat and text messaging to stay connected during the leasing process .” The Arc will be opening in September 2021 and is now accepting applications. Rates at The Arc start at $700 per month.
The Quad, which opened in 2017, is a student housing community exclusively for students of York University and the Seneca@York campus.
Since the building is already open, its biggest challenge during the pandemic has been keeping students engaged while following the social distancing guidelines. “We had to develop a plan to minimize the risk of transmission in the community,” says Kamal Uppal, leasing manager at the Quad. “For example, we previously had a yoga instructor come in once a week to teach a class in the multi-purpose room. Now, to keep students safe, the instructor has been hosting the yoga classes via Instagram Live or Zoom.” Residents have voiced to Kamal that they’re glad to have their own bathroom during the pandemic. So for the next development phase at the Quad, which will be completed by September 2022, the majority of units will have a ratio of one bedroom to one bathroom. Rates at the Quad start at $830 per month.
Located in northwest Calgary, The Hub also had to overcome the challenges of leasing and opening a new building during COVID-19. The property is within walking distance of restaurants, shops and public transit stops, making it easy for residents to commute to school. “The Hub is the perfect bridge for students who want the freedom of living off-campus but with the high-end amenities, inclusivity and support in a student-friendly community,” says property manager Daniel Boulton.
Students attending the University of Calgary or SAIT are welcome to live at the Hub. It is also open to those interested in co-living arrangements; almost 25% of the Hub’s community includes recent graduates and newly working professionals. Rates at the Hub start at $789 per month.