The 803-bed Lofts of Kennesaw is scheduled to open in time for the fall 2012 semester, said John Acken, development manager for Birmingham-based Capstone Development. The development, which will also include 20,000 square feet of retail, will be located at Big Shanty Road and Hidden Forest Court near the KSU Soccer Stadium, about 1½ miles from the main campus.
Acken said his company has developed more than $3 billion of property on or near colleges in 20 years, but this is the first project at KSU.
“Obviously it’s a great market,” he said. “The university is growing. It is a proven leader as a university.”
The housing is aimed at students: Residents will pay rent by the bed, not by the unit, Acken said. Each unit will have between two and four bedrooms.
“The student will be able to rent a bedroom and not be on the hook for their roommate,” he said.
The off-campus housing, which started construction in July, will feature a clubhouse with pool and ping pong tables, a fitness center, private study rooms, a swimming pool, and both sand and water volleyball. Acken said it will also include a parking deck that will allow students to cross a bridge right to their floor.
The complex is looking at possible occupants for the retail space, Acken said.
“We’re looking at restaurants and retailers that would obviously complement a student housing community,” he said.
Capstone closed on the property in June, buying the seven acres from Woody Snell’s Lynwood Development Group of Marietta, Acken said.
Snell had been trying to buy up the nearby Hidden Forest subdivision with the intent of demolishing homes in order to build his Town Village mixed-use project. The project stalled in the wake of the economic downturn and, earlier this year, the Cobb Board of Commissioners rescinded an agreement to give Snell a discount of more than $200,000 on building-permit fees.
Acken said Snell still owns surrounding land and intends to develop it in the future.
Attempts to reach Snell and his attorney Kevin Moore, of Moore, Ingram, Johnson and Steele in Marietta, were unsuccessful.
Ron Batroff, who has lived in Hidden Forest for 37 years, said the neighborhood now has 25 houses in its 50 acres sandwiched between Interstates 75 and 575, though some of them are vacant. He said he is concerned about the development going up where the Grace Church once stood.
“It’s very disturbing for the community,” he said. “We have a five-story building at what used to be the entrance to our community.”