Phase II of Lofts opens for student housing, prepares for new semester

Danielle DAuria

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The long and anticipated wait for phase II of The Lofts to be completed is finally over. The building was finished on Aug. 1 and is move-in ready for both Mercer graduate and undergraduate students.
Due to the great success of phase I of The Lofts and the high demand to live in this popular area, contractors decided to build phase two of The Lofts directly across the street.
Phase II contains many of the same features that the first phase offers students.
However, there will be a few changes in the finishing touches of the new lofts. For example, additional light fixtures and ceiling fans will be added to each unit.
This building only contains four bedroom lofts.
As of Aug.12, there were no vacancies in The Lofts and there is a waitlist to live in the building for the upcoming 2012-2013 school year.
In order to be eligible to live in The Lofts, the prospective student must be a junior, senior, or a graduate student and he or she must be enrolled as a full time student.
The Lofts offers students a three or four bedroom fully furnished loft and each bedroom has its own bathroom. Each loft also has a fully equipped kitchen, living room, and a full-sized washer and dryer.
Unlike the first phase of The Lofts, phase two does not contain any local businesses or restaurants on the ground level.
Instead, the Center for Collaborative Journalism (CCJ) has been located in this section of the building. This center includes: the Mercer University journalism program, The Telegraph, and Georgia Public Broadcasting.
Contractor Jim Daws said, “The street dynamic is really changing a lot. Having 40 plus employees working in the Center for Collaborative Journalism will really get the street vibe going. I think [having CCJ on the ground level] will be a plus.”
Many students are also excited about this new addition to the Mercer community.
Student and Loft resident Erica Cumbie said, “The Lofts are such a great addition to Mercer village and I’m so excited to be one of the first people to live there.”
Phase two of the Lofts aims to keep students living close to campus.
Dr. Jim Netherton, Mercer’s executive vice president of administration and finance told Jennifer Bucholtz, “Studies show that universities where students live on campus have higher retention and graduation rates.”
Dr. Netherton added, “Vibrant neighborhoods attract students, allowing Mercer to accept more competitive students.”
As the student population increases, the demand for housing increases as well. Creating this new community for students to live in attracts even more prospective students.
Property supervisor at the Lofts, Eric Martinez tells Jennifer Bucholtz “Students are most impressed with having their own private bathroom — something they don’t get in traditional on-campus housing.”
The amount of privacy that is provided by The Lofts along with the brand new finishes to each room is also quite impressive to students.
Jim Daws said, “Students are drawn to the Lofts because they can be close to their friends on campus, plus have the freedoms associated with living on their own in an area with retail and restaurant conveniences.”
The Lofts at Mercer village are continuously becoming more and more popular.
Students are anxious to live there and to have this community become their home away from home.

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