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
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
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.