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October 19, 2013

Housing complex to offer leases soon

By Denise Richardson Staff Writer
The Daily Star

---- — Hillside Commons, the student housing complex under construction on Blodgett Drive, will begin taking lease applications next week, a development official said Thursday.

Jeffrey Smetana, a vice president with Newman Development Group, said a leasing office at Clinton Plaza on Main Street in the city will open next week. Rents start at $725 per month, he said.

On the Blodgett Drive parcel, basic site work is complete and some footings have been installed, Smetana said, and the storm-water retention system is in place. Soon, he said, some stair towers and parking lots will be installed.

“We’re right on schedule and moving along,” Smetana said.

Hillside Commons will be able to accommodate 331 students, Smetana said.

The complex, which will be near the State University College at Oneonta, will be for full-time college students and is privately owned.

Earlier this year, the city Planning Commission held public hearings and conducted a mandated State Environmental Quality Review of the proposed housing complex before approving the site plan for the project. Several landlords objected to the project, citing concerns about need and market-share in student housing and tax abatements. Planners and city officials also reviewed issues pertaining to water supply and storm-water runoff.

Also, a lawsuit filed by Wood Ridge Apartments against the city of Oneonta and Newman Development Group challenging the project based on quality-of-life issues was dismissed with a settlement. 

Landscaping and construction have been progressing positively and professionally under Newman Development Group, Oneonta Mayor Dick Miller said Thursday. 

There were some “expressions of concern” in the early days of construction, Miller said, but Newman Development Group has been responsive. The city also has undertaken some additional work regarding storm-water issues on the hillside in that area. 

Smetana said Amanda Masterjohn has been hired as leasing manager, along with several others to work in the office. A model of an apartment will be built in the back portion of the leasing office, he said.

Hillside Commons is expected to be complete the first week in July, with occupancy available for students in August, Smetana said.

Later, Masterjohn will transfer to the Hillside Commons staff, which will include about five full-time employees, Smetana said, plus about five students, who will be living at the complex.