Second phase of UTD’s Northside in Richardson welcomes residents, adds 900 beds to university
August 21, 2018
By Olivia Lueckemeyer | 4:15 pm Aug. 21, 2018 CST | Updated 2:11 pm Aug. 22, 2018 CST
A new wave of students from the University of Texas at Dallas has moved into the second generation of the school’s off-campus, mixed-use development, Northside.
Northside Phase 2, which opened Aug. 15, includes 323 units available for students as well as some faculty and staff members. The expansion added 900 beds to the university’s housing stock, according to one of the project’s developers, Michael Jackson of Wynn / Jackson. About 1,750 residents now live at Northside.
Units at Northside include both apartments and townhomes of one to four bedrooms that come either furnished or unfurnished.
Four-bedroom units are new to the second phase of development and were intended to be a more cost effective option for students wanting to share costs with roommates; however, Jackson said he was surprised when the floor plans with fewer bedrooms leased first. Rent at Northside ranges from $548 to $2,348 a month, depending on the floor plan.
“We tried to bring on a more affordable unit, but with the demographics of the university, the student at UTD would rather have a one- or two-bedroom with no other roommate,” he said. “They are pretty affluent, but there are some that are looking for a price point.”
Amenities at Northside include resort-style pools, fitness facilities, study rooms, media rooms and more. In the second phase the developers added a larger fitness facility and poolside courtyard as well as a sand volleyball court, a CrossFit yard, additional study rooms and more.
Realizing UTD’s Vision
Calvin Jamison, vice president of facilities and community development for UTD, said the expansion of Northside is part of a broader vision for the university: to become a pseudo mini-city. In less than a decade UTD’s population has doubled in size, with 28,000 students enrolled this fall, Jamison said.
“I recognized early on we needed to have a destination location for students to take advantage of,” he said.
Located just north of campus on a 13-acre tract of land, Phase 1 of Northside opened in 2016 as the result of a public-private partnership between UTD and the developers, Wynn / Jackson and Balfour Beatty Campus Solutions. The developers have 61-year leases agreement with the University of Texas System, and at full build-out the project is expected to cost over $100 million.
As part of the agreement the university can block off Northside Boulevard for up to 21 days per year for events and festivals, Jamison said.
Providing a retail component for both residents and nearby employers was crucial for the success of Northside, or “Comet Town,” as Jamison calls it.
“Part of the process of building [Northside] was to ensure there was a live, work, play and study environment adjacent to the campus that had easy access to the academic buildings and for students who are living on campus to come across and take advantage of what is [at Northside],” Jamison said.
The first phase of development included 20,000 square feet of space for restaurants and pubs, including Delish Bubble Tea, Pinto Urban Thai Diner, Chopped Halal Grill, Jimmy John’s, American Tap Room and Northside Drafthouse & Eatery.
The second phase is expected to add another 6,600 square feet of retail, including an new 7-Eleven concept with Amazon lockers, a refrigerated beer room, delivery service and a self checkout app. One remaining space of 1,300 square feet is still available for lease in Phase 1, said Brent Miller, a partner at Wynn / Jackson.
Ground has also been broken on an adjacent tract of land where two 3,300-square-foot buildings are planned. The first building is expected to house a well-known coffee shop along with a restaurant tenant, Miller said.
The Future of Northside
Because of development’s proximity to the Cotton Belt—Northside’s main boulevard dead ends into the future Dallas Area Rapid Transit station—Jamison said he expects demand for more Northside housing to increase, not only from the university community but also from current and future employers in the area. The Cotton Belt is expected to be operational in 2022.
“The goal is to look at Northside Phase 3 over time, and north of the railroad track we are doing a master plan update that talks about what type of buildings we want to add from the DART [station]all the way up to Waterview Drive and the President George Bush Turnpike,” he said.
Compared to industry averages, Northside has a high retention rate of residents, property manager Sarah Morrison said. Fifty-two percent of current residents continued their leases in August, compared to the 30 percent average of other university housing developments.
“We opened at 100 percent in Phase 1 … Now we are in the third year and we are opening with 100 percent [leased],” Jackson said. “We believe there is demand for more beds, but we will be smart about the timing with that.”