BLACKSBURG — The owner of the Sturbridge Square rental complex north of Virginia Tech has plans to tear down all but two of the 11 buildings on the property and replace them with two larger apartment buildings and another two townhouse-style structures, according to town records.
Sturbridge Square LLC has filed a rezoning request for nearly 12 acres of the property, asking the town to change the designation from what’s known as “RM-48” to planned residential. RM-48 is a high density residential designation that basically allows up to 48 bedrooms per acre. Changing to planned residential would allow Sturbridge to fit in plans to bring in about 89 bedrooms per acre.
The current complex occupies the 900 and 1000 blocks of University City Boulevard. The redevelopment, which calls for 441 units with 1,052 bedrooms, will more than double Sturbridge Square’s current housing capacity.
Sturbridge also tacked on a second request to buy 3,447 square feet of unoccupied land near 101 University Blvd. to complement the redeveloped complex. Town records state that space will be configured similar to its “current configuration of sidewalk, landscaping and bus shelter.”
The unit and bedroom capacity specified in Sturbridge’s plans factor in the current complex’s two buildings that won’t be demolished. Newer and opened in fall 2015, those two structures house 24 units with 96 bedrooms.
Town Development Administrator Kinsey O’Shea said she does not yet know the estimated cost of development or the estimated price-point for future rents. Sturbridge’s president couldn’t be reached for comment.
Providing up to four bedrooms per unit, Sturbridge Square is one of several off-campus housing destinations for Tech students.
The redevelopment will add to the growing list of new or redeveloped off-campus housing locations.
Other student apartments that have joined the town in recent years include The Edge, an apartment complex located across the street from the Tech campus on Prices Fork Road; and The Retreat, a cottage community a little farther away from the university and just west of the U.S. 460 and Prices Fork Road interchange.
Also this summer, a California-based land developer for off-campus housing also filed rezoning requests for two sets of parcels at 1310 N. Main St. and 1230 N. Main St. That project promises to bring a 675-room off-campus housing complex.
While certainly a destination for students, Sturbridge Square won’t be exclusive to them.
“They do have a mix of different types of students and occupants,” O’Shea said.
“When we spoke with [the owner] she said she kind of wants to maintain that mix. There’s no way to restrict who lives there.”