The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

New housing option for university students

Tobin Lofts’ pool opened for new residents Aug. 23. The student housing facility offers a fitness center, business center and tanning room. A community center including a TV, games and lounge areas will open sometime this week. Photo by Ashleigh Gow

By Lucia Espino

Students seeking to live independently have new urban living options at Tobin Lofts at San Antonio College.

The new housing option for Texas A&M-San Antonio students was mentioned by Bruce Leslie, Chancellor of Alamo Colleges, at the university’s faculty and staff convocation Aug. 22 at Palo Alto College. Leslie’s address emphasized an academic partnership between Alamo Colleges and the university, but also touched on student services and living options.

Laura Lopez, public relations and marketing director for Aguillon & Associates, said two A&M-San Antonio students are currently leasing bedrooms at Tobin Lofts, which is approximately 12 miles from Main Campus Building.

These fully furnished apartments with Wi-Fi, cable TV and all bills paid are available for any higher education student.

The project is a public-private partnership between SAC, the NRP Group LLC who built the facility and Campus Advantage which oversees management.

SAC owns the land, but for now the money goes to the private sector, said Vanessa C. Torres, director of public relations at SAC. “It will be several years before it can be turned over to SAC.”

Developer’s South Side investment

The same developer, NRP Group, has shown development interests close to Main Campus Building. But so far, students on this campus have not been able to take advantage of this option.

The Mesquite reported Oct. 25, 2012 that NRP Group was in the planning stages of its sixth South Side housing unit in San Antonio; this one marketed as Texas A&M-San Antonio’s first university housing option to be located on University Way.

The project was intended to offer students and employees four floor plan options spanning 236 total units with costs ranging from $625 for a 1-bedroom to $1,527 for a 3-bedroom unit. The complex was expected to open summer 2014.

Calls were placed to NRP Group’s office but additional information was not available this week. Stay tuned for the firm’s development interests on the South Side in a follow-up article.

‘luxe features’

Tobin Lofts, located in the Tobin Hill area near San Antonio College, opened Aug. 23. The fully furnished apartments are available to any higher education student. The project is a public-private partnership between SAC, the NRP group who built the facility, and Campus Advantage which overseas management. Photo by Ashleigh Gow

The style of Tobin Lofts’  apartments is definitely not a traditional college dorm. “The neighborhood itself is very urban … they did a good job at reflecting that,” Lopez said during a tour of the apartments Aug. 30.

Some of the amenities include resort-style pool, game and study rooms, business center, fitness club and even a tanning room.

Floor plans include efficiency rooms and one-bedroom, one-bathroom for $975; $675-$725 per person for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom; $575 per person for a four-bedroom, four-bathroom; and $525 per person for a four-bedrooms, two-bathroom.

However, the only rooms available now are the two-bedroom, two-bathroom; four-bedroom, four-bathroom; and four-bedroom, two-bathroom apartments.

Lopez said lease agreements are by bedroom not by apartment, meaning “if your roommate is late for rent, that doesn’t mean you are,” offering students more flexibility and financial independence.

If a student wants to rent one of the bedrooms from a four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment, they don’t need to bring along three roommates. The leasing office provides a questionnaire to students who do not have roommates and pairs them by similar interests. Lopez said if the leasing office does not match a student to roommates, students can still rent the bedroom.

Students wanting to move in with their boyfriend or girlfriend will have to look for a different living option.

Apartments cannot be coed. Students who are legally married may rent an efficiency room or a one-bedroom apartment, but they must provide a marriage certificate as proof, property manager Alicia Cassidy said.

Students who have children can rent apartments, however, each child over the age of one must have their own room, she explained.

Tobin’s first construction phase was completed less than a year after groundbreaking Oct. 25, 2012. Construction is still underway. During a recent tour, construction dust layered the site and furniture was waiting to be moved in.

Tobin’s second phase is expected to be completed by the end of this year and faculty will be allowed to lease at that point, Lopez said. This phase also includes a first floor commercial face, where restaurants like Luther’s Café, originally located on the development site, will be moving back in and catering to residents, she continued.

Along with providing the land for Tobin Lofts, SAC is also providing campus security services. Apartments are equipped with a key-card security system.During the day, SAC campus police will respond to any emergencies. Evening security, contracted through a private firm, is available to students 10 p.m.–5 a.m.

In addition, since Tobin’s parking lot is expected to be completed with the second phase, but no later than April 2014.

Meanwhile, residents are offered a validated designated parking spot in the college’s parking garage for $200 through Aug. 31, 2014, Torres continued.

So far, 53 percent of the 467 bedrooms available are leased. This means about 248 residents are using a parking space at SAC.

Although not every resident might have a car, in a college known for its parking headaches, any parking space counts.

Xochitl Espinoza, criminal justice sophomore, said she spends about an hour and a half looking for parking and “it is not fair for others who live so close and can walk to be using those spaces.”

For now, welcome mats are visible outside of apartments’ doors as students continue to move in.

For more information, call the leasing office 210-320-0822.

Tobin Lofts employees Alese Descoteaux and Gabriela Sandigo, who are also seniors at Trinity University, help new residents fill out paperwork and review parking at the Tobin Lofts. Photo by Ashleigh Gow

About the Author

Lucia Espino
Lucia Espino is the Comunidad Editor for The Mesquite. Her primary role on the news staff is to further the mission of the news site by reporting on the economically underserved communities surrounding campus including City Council District 3 and southern Bexar County. Lucia is a communications major with a minor in business. Bilingual and a native of Mexico, she is a 2013 participant of the Emmy-award winning Proyecto U broadcast collaborative advised by Communications faculty and KWEX 41/Univision San Antonio. She is a 2007 Fox Tech High School graduate and attended San Antonio College where she was a staff reporter for The Ranger. Lucia is currently a paid intern for the Texas A&M's Colonias Program.

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