The sound of loud banging and accumulation of dirt as a result of construction don’t typically evoke the most positive of feelings. In the past few years, Cornell has had construction all over campus. From the Ag Quad redesign, to the rebuilding of Gannett, it seems as though every aspect of our campus has been subjected to change. And while we know that these projects are only meant to improve our campus as a whole, we still regard these as utter nuisances. Not only is construction an obstacle for students to navigate, but it is also messy, loud, and unattractive.
The most recent ongoing construction project to affect Cornellians is the immense rise of new apartment buildings in Collegetown. But with the right perspective, the inconvenience borne by this construction can have a silver lining. Another problem Cornell has constantly faced in the previous years is access to affordable housing. Not only is on campus housing limited, but most of the housing options both on- and off-campus are outdated and far from campus. What’s even worse, is the high cost of living in Collegetown and on-campus means that many students have to settle for inconvenient and undesirable housing options, with no other choices they can afford.
In Collegetown, renting an apartment costs anywhere between $500 to over $1,000 a month. Houses are a bit cheaper, but can come with expenses like water, heat, maintenance, and other utilities. Cheaper housing is located extremely far away from campus, which is a challenge when trying to get to classes during the winter months.
On top of the high price tag, Collegetown housing goes extremely fast–so much so that most people need to give a deposit a year in advance. People often secure apartments for the next year in August, without truly knowing if the place and people they choose to live with are the right ones. This process is anxiety inducing for everyone not only because it puts on the pressure to find housing before it’s too late, but also because most people need to be conscious of their financial situations. Finding housing is hard enough, but housing you can actually afford is even more difficult.
The construction in Collegetown–despite its loudness and inconvenience–thus presents an opportunity to ease this situation and reduce Collegetown housing prices.The housing situation in CTown is simple economics. The demand for housing is high, but the supply is limited. This means we all rush to secure housing no matter what the price, and landlords take full advantage of this. But, if we have more housing options available, this problematic situation seemingly dissipates. With the completion of at least five new apartment buildings in Collegetown in the past and future few years, the increased availability of housing options will hopefully cause prices to drop–or at least, stabilize–and make living in Collegetown a little more feasible.
New buildings also means updated facades and the possibility of new stores. The erection of Collegetown Crossing, for instance, brought us GreenStar, a local supermarket that we desperately needed. Another new building on Eddy Street brought us a new coffee shop and liquor store, giving us more options besides just CTB, Starbucks, and Collegetown Liquors. The new storefronts could also help bring down the prices of the products they are selling, like coffee or groceries for example, in order to keep up with the competition. On top of this possible bonus, new exteriors also means a more beautiful Collegetown. Sometimes storefronts in CTown sit empty for years, almost falling apart. This makes it look a bit run down, something prospective and current students don’t like to see. And with the closing of favorites like Stella’s, Dunbar’s, and Pixel Alley, it is good to put new life back into CTown.
Building materials spilling out into the street, road closures, an extra ten minutes just to get to class, and loud noises waking you up in the morning are completely unappealing. But the benefits these things might bring is something to think about. The construction and new infrastructure in our small college town might actually be a good thing for everyone after all.