1855 Place residents satisfied with their new home
The land at the intersection of Harrison and Kalamazoo streets has been home to an orchard, a poultry plant, a police post and a parking lot. Now, over a century after it was first purchased by MSU, the site is home to the 1,200 residents of the university's newest on-campus housing development, 1855 Place.
As another on-campus apartment complex, 1855 Place is sometimes viewed as a replacement for Spartan Village, MSU's aging development down Harrison Road. Cooper makes the distinction that Spartan Village is not being replaced as of yet, but rather is just being "shrunk," as 300 units remain open at the decades-old complex.
"We didn't fully close Spartan Village," Residential and Hospitality Services director of communications Kat Cooper said. "We closed the un-renovated units. ... It'll be about three to five years while we look for a different solution."
Replacement or not, 1855 Place does have a leg up on Spartan Village in at least one area; its location, directly across from the Breslin Center, is a much more central one than Spartan Village, which sits a few minutes south of South Neighborhood.
However, Cooper said she thinks the complex's location is far from the only advantage it has over Spartan Village and off-campus apartments. She said at 1855 Place, amenities don't just mean the big-ticket items, but include less tangible things like the ability to live a "vehicle-free life" and "easy access" to campus.
"When we say amenities, we don't mean hot tubs or swimming pools," Cooper said. "We mean things that can help you live your life easily."
Cooper thinks that the fact that the university isn't just a landlord means residents can expect more responsiveness when it comes to their problems.
"We're here not just to make money," Cooper said. "We're definitely held to a higher standard than the private market."
The idea that the university would take responsibility for issues was tested early in the development's unveiling, and the university did respond. Sophomore Brianna Belanger, a resident at 1855 Place who also works at the new Sparty's Market located at the complex, said that a plumbing failure led to her receiving $50 in Spartan Cash.
"I actually got the $50," Belanger said. "It was because the hot water wasn't working, but that's the only problem we've had so far."
Even hiccups seem to be benefiting residents, some of whom weren't even living at 1855 Place when the malfunction occurred. Joe Choi, a resident assistant at one of the buildings, received the payout even though the issue was fixed before he moved in.
"Before I got here, I think there was some plumbing problem," Choi said. "I wasn't here, and then they still compensated me with $50 of Spartan Cash."
Perhaps he was swayed by receiving a payout over an issue that didn't affect him, or perhaps the fact that his job as an R.A. means he doesn't have to pay rent is enough to keep him satisfied. Yet Choi's contentment isn't unique. Both he and Belanger, who said having utilities included in the cost of rent makes prices "reasonable" for on-campus living, have plenty of praise for their new home.
"I think it's the best housing on campus," Choi said. "I think it's perfect."