Clarion University of Pennsylvania


Student Housing And Retail/dining Market Study

Education Realty Trust, on behalf of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, selected B&D in 2012 to conduct a market demand assessment for on-campus student housing and retail/dining, which would be part of an anticipated mixed-use development. We were asked to determine the quantity of beds, if any, to be included in this new development; the retail/dining establishments desired by Clarion students; competitive market factors affecting student rental rates; and which housing unit configuration was most desired by students. Our scope of work included on-campus meetings with key stakeholders, an off-campus housing analysis, a competitive context analysis, and Internet-based student survey, and a retail analysis. A housing demand model also was developed. We found that 85% of students ranked housing as a major factor in their decision to attend Clarion, and most chose branded food and dining as their retail preferences. The competitive benchmarking of housing capture rates suggested that the university had an opportunity to successfully add on-campus student housing. Our demand analysis outlined which unit configurations were oversubscribed and which exhibited the highest demand. It also provided a clear direction for the proposed design capacity and unit mix in the new development, and established a plan to take several existing housing units offline. Our recommendations served to focus the university with respect to housing and retail/dining opportunities that would benefit the future of both the school and its student population. As a result, the university built the 353-bed Suites on Main North in 2015 and the 375-bed Suites on Main South in 2016. The 230,000 SF, $61 million project includes a 182-seat theater, a bookstore, and retail options.