Cottages of Boone progressing
by Kellen Short
Work began on the Cottages of Boone, located off Poplar Grove Road South, shortly after it received approval from the Watauga County Planning Board in February 2012.
The concept is unique to Boone, as it features three- and five-bedroom cottages and duplexes in addition to more traditional lodge apartments. The upscale community also will include a clubhouse, pool, gym, sauna and study rooms.
"Leasing has gone well, and we have been satisfied with our leasing results to date," Jen Wilson, vice president of marketing and leasing for Capstone Collegiate Communities, said in an email.
Leases range from $560 to $830 per bedroom, Wilson said, and 121 bedrooms were still available as of Thursday.
Wilson said the biggest surprise for Capstone was a very wet winter and spring.
Due to those weather delays, one lodge building housing approximately 40 residents will not be ready by the Aug. 15 date, she said. Tenants who were supposed to move into that building have been offered alternate accommodations on the property.
For the ambitious project, the Watauga County Planning and Inspections Department issued more than 100 building permits for single- or multi-family structures -- close to what it has issued for the whole year for the entire county in the last couple of years, said director Joe Furman.
"We've seen bigger projects, but they're been phased, so seeing one that's not phased was a different experience for us," Furman said.
As the project was located outside Boone limits, it was not subject to the town's new multi-family housing regulations.
Traffic flow in the region was an early concern for some residents. The N.C. Department of Transportation has agreed to install a traffic light at nearby Poplar Grove Road and N.C. 105 at the request of county and town officials, said Division Engineer Mike Pettyjohn. He said the light will likely be installed in late July, ideally before school begins again.
Pettyjohn said a light will not be installed at Poplar Grove Road South, which accesses the apartments, because of the number of signals in the area in close succession.
AppalCART also will serve the community through its new "teal route" starting in August.
While Capstone Collegiate Communities will not release its total financial investment in the project, representatives of RKG Associates, a firm hired to conduct a housing analysis for the Town of Boone, said in a June meeting that the project has experienced significant cost overruns.
Wilson said it was corporate policy not to release financial information on its communities.
The housing study completed in May determined that the Boone area has a student housing surplus of between 1,200 and 2,500 units, a surplus analysts said would likely grow.
When asked about the study, Wilson maintained that the Capstone project is a different concept than traditional student housing.
"The Cottages of Boone is a student community that offers a cottage lifestyle that is unique to the Appalachian State University market," Wilson said in an email. "To date, it has been well received by students at ASU."