Every year just as students are almost settled into their living space, they’re faced once again with having to hunt for housing.
There are so many options for apartment living in State College, and even more than ever as high rises are starting to pop up at numerous locations downtown.
Students are faced with making the choice of living in luxury, but at a cost — at buildings like The Metropolitan and The Retreat — or toughing it out for a year in buildings like The Meridian and Beaver Terrace.
To get a taste of all the different styles of living offered in State College and to look at them comparatively, The Daily Collegian spoke to four students currently living in a “luxury” apartment, a “typical” downtown apartment, an apartment outside of downtown and a house.
Option 1: Living in ‘luxury’
The most luxurious of living options downtown, The Metropolitan, frequently referred to as “The Met,” had its first tenants in Fall 2017.
Located at the intersection of West College Avenue and Atherton Street, The Met promises a “uniquely modern place for individuals to live, work, relax and play,” complete with a state-of-the-art fitness center, an internet cafe, a “sparkling resort-style swimming pool” and a 9,000+ square foot clubhouse.
Rent at The Met starts as low as $733 per month and goes into the mid $1,000s depending on the floor plan, reaching $1,531 for a private studio apartment.
Gino Pezzone, who lives in a two-bed, two-bath at The Met likes that his apartment has new, high end appliances and furniture, but “the lack of pool or finished retail is very upsetting.
“The only useful amenities are the gym and the study lounge/computer lounge. The Met is definitely not what was promised,” Pezzone (sophomore-biochemistry and molecular biology) said.
Since he has his own bedroom and bathroom, he feels that his apartment is very spacious, and said that friends in other apartments with more roommates often complain that they feel extremely cramped.
Although the pool wasn’t finished in time for fall semester, residents and staff members at The Met shared that it’s set to open at the beginning of the Spring semester.
Option 2: ‘Typical’ downtown apartment
Penn Tower is a perfect example of the typical, somewhat reasonably-priced apartment you will find downtown.
Every unit has wall-to-wall carpet, balconies, air condition, on-site parking and coin-operated laundry. The building offers studio apartments to two bedrooms — notably, they don’t offer a floor-plan with more than one bathroom.
Rent goes from $1,000 per month for a studio to $2,865 per month for a two-bedroom “large” apartment.
Evelyn Pro lives with three friends in Penn Tower in a two-bed one-bath layout.
“I’ve never felt like we were on top of each other,” Pro (junior-psychology and business) said. “Even with only one bathroom, we really don’t get in each other’s way too much. I wish the kitchen was a little bigger because only one person can make food at a time.”
During her sophomore year, Pro lived on Prospect Ave in “fratland” and prefers Penn Tower to the house she lived in last year.
“I definitely like living in Penn Tower better,” Pro said. “It was at least a 20-minute walk to get anywhere which was not fun in the winter...plus our house was surrounded by frats so it was chaotic.”
Option 3: Housing Communities ‘Far, Far Away’
The most well-known, off-campus living space outside of downtown is The Retreat. It is a picture village of cottages painted in contrasting vibrant and neutral colors.
Complete with a “resort-style pool and hot tub,” salon and spa, state-of-the-art clubhouse and “extensive green space,” The Retreat is about a 15-minute bus ride from campus.
Rent starts at $855 per person, per month, for a five-bed five-bath cottage and goes to $1095 per person, per month, for a two-bed 2.5-bath cottage.
Aditya Kalra lives in a three-story, four-bed, 4.5-bath cottage. There is “a whole floor dedicated to just living and dining space. It is quite spacious,” Kalra (sophomore - information sciences and technology) said.
Regarding all that is offered at The Retreat, Kalra said, “the amenities are pretty cool...the indoor basketball court, hot tub and pool are conveniently located at the club house.”
Although The Retreat may be 15 minutes from campus, Kalra said that the location is “kinda convenient” because it is right across the street from a plaza with stores including Weis Market, Dominos and Rite Aid.
Residents of The Retreat also receive free CATA bus passes in order to get to and from campus each day.
Option 4: Home ‘Sweet’ House
An option that is less often explored by students is living in a house downtown, or in other more residential areas in State College.
Student properties line West College and West Beaver Avenues, and are scattered throughout the area near Fairmount Avenue.
Sam Murphy lives in a two-story, two-bed, one-bath house with two other people.
While a house may seem a little too spacious, Murphy (senior - security risk analysis and cyber security) enjoys his own bedroom and the extra space.
“Having to share a bathroom with only one or two people is pretty nice,” Murphy said.
As for the location, Murphy said that it isn’t the most convenient place to live since it’s located on South Allen Street. For him, it’s a 15-minute walk to campus and usually takes an additional 10-15 minutes to get to class.
For any prospective student-leasers, it is important to weigh all the pros and cons of different apartments and homes around town.
Expensive doesn’t always mean it’ll be flawless, and cheap doesn’t always mean it will be a dump. No matter where you end up living, it’s important to make an informed decision on what you want to call home for the next year, or years to come.