Off-campus housing for students has always been a stressful and competitive experience. Apartment buildings around campus fill up extremely quickly, prompting anxiety and mania as students pick a place to live for their next year of college.
The core of this hysteria is located at the Hub, at 437 North Frances Street. Every year, more and more students apply to live at the Hub and each year more are turned away due to the influx of students seeking residency there.
Adding the controversial Hub II, also known as The Langdon due to its location on Langdon Street, would ease a significant amount of stress on the student population as the apartment building would open up a number of brand new apartments for Badgers to reside.
There have been a number of concerns regarding the construction of the Hub II, including the building’s size and affordability. While it is going to be a decently large building and people are unsure of how it will affect housing prices, the Hub II developers have assured us of their use of a sustainability rating system called the National Green Building Standard, which is apparently the best system to use, as it is the only green building rating system for homes and apartments approved by the American National Standards Institute.
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Some of the team’s sustainability measures include controlled runoff, high-efficiency LED lighting, green roofs, encouraged walking and biking and energy-efficient appliances. The features encouraging walking and biking and the energy-efficient appliances are all valuable for college students and are also important in the spread of environmental awareness.
Given the pressing state of our climate and the widespread concern for the sustainability of our planet, the Hub II’s efforts should not go unnoticed or unappreciated. These measures are also being implemented at the current Hub and James Apartments, reflecting positively on the team behind the Hub II.
Community members also voiced concern about the price of the building and what it would mean for apartment buildings around campus, to which the team responded they are changing the designs of the building to make it more affordable and accessible to a larger range of students.
It is no secret to say the majority of students living in the Hub and seeking residency there are or were part of the Greek system. After living in one of the apartment buildings on Langdon Street or in a fraternity or sorority house, students in the Greek community are banging down the doors of the Hub to secure an apartment for their junior year.
It makes complete sense to create an almost identical duplicate of the most popular building near campus, especially when you are putting it in the center of the Greek community.
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The Langdon area is known for its rich Badger culture and the upbeat party scene which reminds students every day of the university’s lively spirit. Though there are many concerns about adding an apartment building of this size and volume to such a historic street — including increased noise disturbance due to the proposed outdoor amenities — Langdon is already an incredibly loud area in which many of the buildings have outdoor balconies.
Another concern is the size of the building, which at seven stories exceeds the city’s downtown recommendation buildings stay five stories or under in this particular area. The Hub II development team heard these concerns and decided to remove two floors to better satisfy the zoning standards.
The development team has voiced their goal to abide by the public’s concern on a number of occasions and has been collaborating with the Urban Design Commission — from which they received a favorable recommendation on the exterior design for the building — suggesting it will add even more beauty to the Langdon area.
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It is for these reasons I believe we should welcome this new building with excitement for all it will contribute to the already vibrant Langdon area. The sustainability measures and the development team’s effort to lower prices to better accommodate more students are both reasons to support the Hub II.
Adding another Hub here would also add even more Badger spirit to the street by allowing juniors and seniors to remain on Langdon for as long as they want during their college career. Langdon Street received its tradition and history from the students who have lived there, so we should continue to let as many students live there as possible in order to feed the street’s campus spirit and allow it to thrive for years to come.
Elizabeth Ellick ([email protected]) is a junior majoring in political science.