Salisbury University is a public university in Salisbury, Maryland. Founded in 1925, Salisbury is a member of the University System of Maryland, with a Fall 2018 total enrollment of 8,567 students.
The Salisbury University Foundation engaged The Scion Group to complete a Market and Demand Analysis for contemplated campus housing as part of a mixed-use residential and retail development at the Court Plaza site located on the University’s campus. Throughout the process, Scion worked closely with the chosen development partner, Greystar, to confirm that there was a need for additional beds, along with a review of proposed unit types and rental rates to satisfy student demand. Furthermore, stakeholders wanted clear direction that the location was desirable to freshman and sophomores and would help to retain students on-campus.
Scion used a variety of investigative and information gathering tools to fully understand the SU residential culture, student needs, and institutional priorities for the new housing development. Specifically, Scion reviewed University enrollment and housing occupancy data, toured residential facilities, and examined the off-campus housing market. To create engagement with students and stakeholders, Scion conducted multiple focus groups, a student intercept survey, and interviewed key University stakeholders.
Scion utilized industry-leading survey technology to conduct intercept interviews with students across campus to gain a broad perspective on students’ interest in the new housing, focusing on unit types and location of the proposed Project. The well-established purpose-built student housing market was also an area of interest. Scion’s proprietary rental-market models were used to provide the University and Greystar with the most up-to-date data for accurate comparison of price points and amenities. Throughout this process, Scion worked closely with all stakeholders for timely sharing of information to support and further the continued planning of the development.
The proposed project consists of three buildings with approximately 752 beds of student housing and possible ground-floor retail. The housing will consist of freshman-sophomore suites and two- and four-bedroom upper-division apartments. The University plans to decommission three residence halls, a total of 606 beds.
The project will replace all removed beds and add approximately 150 additional to satisfy unmet demand which is currently embodied by a significant wait list. Perhaps the most significant finding concerned unit type and layout. Through our interaction with residents, Scion learned that students were strongly opposed to the layout of one of the proposed floorplans and felt that the new development would not effectively compete with certain off-campus offerings. Based on Scion’s feedback, the team was able to revisit the design thus making the project more able to satisfy the core objective of increasing resident retention.