Real Estate Experts: TOPS Helps Fuel LSU Apartment Boom

BATON ROUGE (AP) — Real estate experts say the neighborhoods around LSU are in the middle of an unprecedented apartment construction boom and it's being fueled, in part, by the TOPS scholarship program.

         Wesley Moore, of Cook, Moore and Associates, a longtime tracker of the Baton Rouge apartment market, tells The Advocate’s Timothy Boone more than 2,400 apartment units have been completed in the LSU area and another 663 units are in the pipeline.

         "These are all being built by solid, capable developers, so I expect they will come to market," Moore said.

         The apartment building boom is being driven by rising enrollment at LSU. In fall 2010, there were just under 28,000 students attending the university, a low point following the years of attendance swollen by students displaced by Hurricane Katrina after 2005. In fall 2015, more than 31,500 students were attending the school, the second year in a row enrollment had risen 2 percent.

         The state-funded Taylor Opportunity Program for Students has been one of the factors in boosting LSU's enrollment because the scholarships cover tuition costs for qualifying Louisiana high school graduates. Moore said the program has worked alongside the rising enrollment standards at the state's flagship university.

         "When LSU increased admission standards, it made it more exclusive of a club that more people want to get in," he said. "And if you have tuition covered for all of the universities in Louisiana, it makes sense that students would want to go to the one it's harder to get into."

         Wes Rogers, chief executive officer of Landmark Properties Inc., said TOPS was something that was considered before building The Standard at Baton Rouge, a $50.6 million complex that opened during the summer. The 287-unit complex takes up a 4.5-acre block.


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