The old days of prison-cell-like student housing are mostly gone but it’s more than physical amenities like salons and spas and 24-hour fitness centers that’s different these days.

There are also other lures that attract today’s students (and their sometime bill-paying parents).

Good locations have always been a requirement. But eco-friendly features are emerging as important amenities. So are elements commonly popular now in other general real estate developments such as walkability, safety and the overall search for living experiences. Some high-tech, too, of course. And in some cases, a re-hab or redo as well.

But one element continues: investors see its many advantages.

“Investors are attracted to student housing because enrollment in university and colleges is expanding. Also, student housing tends to be recession proof because when there is less job opportunities, people go back to school to learn new skills,” Colliers’ Executive Vice President Gerard Yetming tells

He and his associates view Orduna Court at 800 S. Dixie here as an example of the trend.

“Orduna Court provides a modern and safe living community, which caters to the wants and needs of UM students, new graduates and young career professionals,” said Yetming, who is marketing the property with colleagues Mitash Kripalani and Julian Zuniga. “But from an investor standpoint, the property presents the unique opportunity to capitalize on above-market rental income by implementing a furnished, co-living rent-by-the-bed business plan. It delivers the flexibility students are typically seeking with short- and long-term rentals while driving rental income value for the owner.”

Renovation and Smart Amenities Keys to Success

The five-story, 25,500-square-foot building was constructed in 1982. It was recently renovated and modernized by South Florida developer Location Ventures. The goal: enhance the student housing and co-living experience. With that in mind, the design team built a program that included smart room layouts, SMART home technology in all units for access at the touch of a button, sleek furnished unit packages, and a refresh of onsite amenities including a resort-style pool.

Location Ventures CEO and founder Rishi Kapoor said: “As a company our philosophy is to provide unparalleled living experiences that are thoughtfully planned and fully integrated. At Orduna Court that meant a full refresh of all the units, using designer finishes, updating the pool, installing the latest home tech and security, and increasing the foliage on the property.”

The result includes amenities such as the resort-style swimming pool, storage lockers, and bike racks. The property is made up of 2- and 3-bedroom apartments averaging 1,142 square feet per unit and has one ground level of covered, secure parking with 42 surface parking spaces.

“Orduna Court represents a massive shift in the industry and the way we think about student housing,” said Colliers Vice President Mitash Kripalani. “Instead of automatically choosing the least expensive option, students are increasingly seeking and placing value on elements like community, walkability, safety, flexibility and amenities. Investors are adjusting course to meet these needs.”

Location Is Itself An Amenity

Since completing the refresh, Orduna Court has attracted University of Miami students and young professionals interested in living in the heart of Coral Gables in modern surroundings. “Today’s renters are looking for more than just an apartment, they want a living experience that is built for their lifestyle and enhances it,” says Kapoor.

Set in the heart of Coral Gables, the location of the building is an amenity itself. Orduna Court is located directly on US-1 and within walking distance to the University Metrorail station and the University of Miami. It is a seven-minute train ride from Brickell’s financial district and in close proximity to popular student neighborhoods, such as Coconut Grove, Downtown Dadeland, Coral Gables, Kendall, Downtown Miami and more.

“As we see millennials ditching car ownership for alternate methods of transportation – public transit, biking, ride-sharing – the proximity and ease of access to work and play destinations is becoming increasingly important for successful multifamily development,” added Yetming.