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Letters to the Editor

February 22, 2013

Student apartments bad news for Oneonta

The following is an analysis of the primary economic impact that is likely to occur from building an off-campus 325-bed student complex in the Blodgett Drive area of the city of Oneonta.

Building this complex in this single-family residential neighborhood would almost immediately tend to decrease the demand for housing in that neighborhood. The neighborhood would now become less desirable to current and prospective residents. This would tend to drive down property values, subsequently reducing taxes collected by the city.

Building this complex without an offsetting increase in enrollment of upper-class students at SUNY Oneonta would tend to reduce the on-campus residence hall occupancy rate, and decrease the occupancy rate of existing off-campus student housing. This decrease in the demand for the existing off-campus student housing would likely drive down the rents charged students. Fewer students living in the existing off-campus housing, each paying less in rent, would reduce the income generated by these properties, lowering their market value, and lead to a fall in taxes collected by the city.

Declining rental income and the value of student rental housing would tend to lead to the deferred maintenance of off-campus student houses. This could lead to a trend toward housing blight within the city. Should housing blight occur, the city property tax revenue would tend to decline still further.

The impact of building an off-campus student complex could imperil the financial health of the city. It would tend to lower property-tax revenue collected and lead to the deterioration of the housing stock within the city of Oneonta.

Alfred M. Lubell


Lubell is a professor of economics emeritus at the State University College at Oneonta.

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