Photo by Bruce Harkness
Several community leaders were on hand Aug. 21 to cut the ceremonial ribbon and open The Union at Dearborn, the new student housing complex build to house University of Michigan-Dearborn students. The complex is across Evergreen Road from the UM-D campus and can house just over 500 students in 145 units. Students can begin moving in on Sept. 1.
By BOB OLIVER
DEARBORN – The University of Michigan-Dearborn is all set to offer something new to students this semester: housing. Opening Sept. 1, The Union at Dearborn will offer apartments for about 500 UM-D students.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the complex was held Aug. 21 with several college and community dignitaries in attendance, including U.S. Rep. John Dingell (D-Dearborn) and the mayors of Dearborn and Dearborn Heights, John O’Reilly Jr. and Dan Paletko, respectively.
The Union is a $30 million four-story multi-building complex located directly across Evergreen Road from the UM-D campus. The 231,791-square-foot buildings are interconnected.
The buildings offer 145 one-, two-, and four-bedroom apartments and have students sharing joint living room and kitchen spaces. The apartments come fully furnished with appliances, furniture and a flat-screen television. They are also equipped with private bedrooms and bathrooms..
UM-D Chancellor Daniel Little said the apartments are about 80 percent full, with more than 400 students signed up for the fall semester.
“We are very encouraged by the response to the housing thus far,” Little said. “Of the students who have leased, 11 are from out of state, 90 are international students and there are 25 students from outside our traditional catch area. Some of these students wouldn’t have chosen UM-Dearborn if we didn’t have The Union.”
UM-D Vice Chancellor Stanley Henderson said the complex will feature space leased by the university for student life activities, including meeting rooms, student gathering spaces, group study rooms, offices for student organizations and a cabaret-style theater.
He added that the complex will be a “vehicle for student engagement.”
The grounds of the complex also will feature a fitness center, a yoga room, and a half-court basketball court open to residents. An 8,000-square-foot student lounge will also be open to all students.
Developed by Urban Campus Communities of Bloomfield Hills, the housing was built on 12.5 acres of land purchased from Ford Land last year.
UCC Managing Member Larry Winokur said the company is happy to be involved with the project.
“We are excited to work in collaboration with UM-Dearborn,” Winokur said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from the Dearborn community and this is something that has been a pleasure to work on.”
O’Reilly said that the addition of the student housing will be an “exciting development for Dearborn” and that the decision to work with UCC and UM-D was a “no-brainer for the city because we knew that the university had room to grow” if they were able to offer housing to students rather than having commuting.
“We are thrilled that UM-Dearborn students soon will be able to call Dearborn home throughout the year and we look forward to welcoming them to our community,” O’Reilly said.
The university currently has just over 9,000 students, but Little believes that the housing will attract more students because they will not have to commute to the university from long distances away.
“Our students have expressed an interest in housing for many years, so we are pleased that this development allows students the opportunity of adjacent housing to enhance their university experience,” Little said.
A crosswalk was installed on Evergreen, which will stop both directions of traffic to allow students to cross the road between The Union and campus.
Students will begin moving in Sept. 1. Fall classes begin Sept. 4.
(Bob Oliver can be reached at [email protected])