Why one student hates University Pointe

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The search for redeeming qualities goes on
ELIZABETH THOMPSON/Vanguard staff

At the beginning of the year, I signed a lease with University Pointe. I didn’t know very much at all about apartments in Portland. I was a very, very stupid person from a much smaller suburban town, and I was impressed by the big, modern new building. I somehow convinced myself it would be a good idea to get a room reserved. But a few months later I realized: I’d made a huge mistake.

How University Pointe can call itself “student housing” baffles me when the rent for an unfurnished studio is at least $1,200 a month. Even the dumber version of myself figured out that was ridiculously expensive six months ago. Instead, I opted for one of the four-bedroom floor plans, because although $700 wasn’t quite reasonable, I still had the idea that it would be worth it.

Then I discovered through friends canceling their leases that it would cost $200 to get out of mine, and I had to find someone who would take it over for me. Shortly after that, the rate of the four-bedroom model was reduced, meaning that anyone who took my lease would be losing money to do so; my contract was still the $700 price and that couldn’t be changed. I am basically stuck living at University Pointe.

And I don’t want to live there.

None of the amenities that I was originally impressed with make it worth the cost of living there. Access to a gym? I’m already paying for the membership with the much larger, better-equipped Portland State Rec Center included in my student fee. A TV with every suite? I could buy a TV with the money I would save living somewhere else. A dishwasher? Nice try, I use paper plates.

Wi-Fi enabled washing machines? OK, that’s awesome. (But only because I have a weakness for technology.)

The bedroom is tiny and the living room is even more so. The view is potentially nice, if you don’t end up facing The Broadway or Ondine Residence Hall. The leather furniture looks nice, but isn’t at all comfortable. In fact, I think the leather couch represents the essence of why I don’t want to live at University Pointe: it’s expensive and looks like it would be nice, but actually isn’t. The only upside I see to University Pointe coming in is the opportunity for a new burger place and bagel shop on campus.

The thing that bothers me the most about University Pointe is where my money would go if I had to live there. It’s apparently the policy of the company to sponsor a seemingly unlimited stream of promotional prizes and contests. It bothers me because I hope people like me don’t get fooled into signing leases by those promotions. It bothers me because their leasing assistants are underpaid and overworked.

It also bothers me for the most selfish reason possible: every dollar spent on a pair of Beats to give away is money that could be going toward making rates cheaper. I would love to see if other American Campus Communities buildings have the same kind of promotional budget this one apparently does.

When compared to the company’s buildings in other places (with very similar and often much more spacious floor plans), Portland’s has some of the highest rent rates. In many cases, University Pointe has rates that are $300 higher than its sister buildings on other campuses. It’s a pretty blatant attempt to nickel and dime college students, and the principle of living there is going to bother me almost as much as the cost.

I will be shocked if they manage to reach occupancy, either. It’s difficult to find someone who wants to take over your lease there, even when you offer them money. I can’t imagine the studios will ever fill up. The two bedroom units are essentially nicer versions of a room in the upper floors of Ondine. Unless they cut their rates or sell the building, they’ll have an interesting time breaking even after spending so much money on construction and promotion.

I can’t help but wonder if in a few years, University Pointe will be sold to PSU and turned into more university housing; its new purpose being an even more upgraded version of Broadway.

As of today, I haven’t been able to find someone to take over my lease. I know a friend who gave someone $1,000 to take his, but I don’t have that option. My summer will be largely dedicated to trying to find someone who wants to take it from me for a reasonable price (which could be you, dear reader!). If I can’t find someone, I will be moving into a room with roommates who are paying a lower price for the same thing. But I won’t like it. ■

27 COMMENTS

  1. Waaaa I don’t wanna live here anymore so I am going to write an article about it so people can see how bad my situation is. Boo hoo… Dude, you at one time made the decision to live there, welcome to being an adult

  2. Waaaaa I don’t wanna pay for this but I’m totally able to waaaa I waste and pay for paper plates waaaa Feel bad for me even though I can afford to live downtown and spend time writing things like this waaaaa

  3. Hey Tiger/Micrcliche: University Pointe hasn’t opened yet. She is letting everyone know how much a rip-off University Pointe is for students. The Rearguard published a magnum-opus on how much a rip-off UP is for the university. Go read it.

  4. Hey Tiger/Micrcliche: Don’t be so sanctimonious. All of us made some mistakes, including financial mistakes, when we were first given the reins of freedom. If you have your stuff together, do you really want to use this forum just to let Kevin know how superior you feel? How small is that, Tiger/Micrcliche?

    The issue here is whether the university and Amercian Campus Communities are collaborating on something that will enhance students and support their studies, graduation, and financial situations, or whether they are selling and abusing the dream of “college life” and “on-campus/downtown living” to squeeze out every dollar they can from very young college students.
    And the situation at University Pointe seems to add up to, “how much money can we rake off of college students?” The university should apologize for this business arrangement, and rectify the situation.

  5. In the future read a contract before you sign it. If you have a legitimate legal issue with them sue them, otherwise hold yourself accountable for your poor foresight. I and others don’t require your personal story to understand a legally binding document.

  6. I’m in the same boat. Stuck with a lease that I realized won’t be a good place for me. Definitely a lesson learned, but it doesn’t help the disappointment of the situation.

  7. Ehhh… I was actually considering this place because of the deal they are handing out right now for 600 dollars per a person with the shared kitchen/baths. I thought it was pretty nice price for the location and they included utilities. I mean I thought there was going to be more to your argument. Only legit argument I see here is you being stuck with the original contract. Still doing my some research before taking this deal though.

  8. As a resident at University Pointe, I heartily disagree with this article. I have just moved in, and I think that I am getting way more for what I am paying for. If you cannot handle city living, then don’t live here. I think this review of University Pointe is incredibly ignorant. City living is far more expensive than what UP is offering. Also, PSU dorms are approximately the same amount as well, and you get less for your buck. And on a final note, the gym at UP is open 24 hours a day, which is incredibly convenient for my schedule, unlike the PSU one.

  9. I agree its awful the walls are paper thin and have a gap by the top of the celling so its not a real wall there so pathetic they don’t have paper in the computer lab that’s right folks for how much you pay for rent u have to supply ur own paper and they will still charge u for printing the front desk staff is rude and un helpful. The trash shoot doesn’t work on any of the floors the elevators take forever and a day to come the place is dirty and not cleaned well at all overall its a peice of crap

  10. Well from researching about it now it seems like a pretty legit place to live, far cheaoer than other places downtown. But I’m confused, is UP only for PSU students? or any other college students around that area?

    • It seems like a great option but it isn’t, I promise. I have had so many issues with the staff and management. Look at the reviews on yelp and you will get a better idea!

  11. my son has been living here for 3 months now. He hates it i hate it. First of all when they were show the model of the apartment when we toured in the summer, it was bigger and nicer. The ones that they actually moved into were no where near what they were shown. I sent his rent in and for some reason it must have got lost in the mail who knows…(but i refuse to pay the $20 fee to use my credit card) that my friends is BS! anyway because it is 9 days past the “due date” with another check in the mail, they have served him with a 72 hour eviction notice and $100 in late fees. I dont remember rreading that in the contract. I even talked to two people in the office and they even told me that its not but Jayme, (who admits that he has not even read the contract) is forcing the issue. If it wasnt for his credit report I would just let them try and evict him..anyway be very aware of wht you are getting into and talk to people who live there. There is also a huge marijana problem that no one really wants to do anything about. I may just sue them for breach of contract

    • I know plenty of people that would help you sue the building. about 99% of the students hate it there. I myself have had major issues with the building and am considering suing them.

  12. It appears these negative comments about UP have been made by people who did not done their homework for housing & related costs in the PSU area….seriously – did the first complainer actually try to find decent, affordable housing within close proximity to the school? While there is no such thing as “perfect housing”, this residence is actually a great deal if you consider the following…my daughter doesn’t need a car because she can walk to class and take max anywhere else she needs to go (no need for car insurance or exorbitant parking pass) and better for the environment), all other costs are covered by the monthly rent (trash, electric, WiFi.etc), she feels really connected to the university community and is therefore more engaged in the academic environment and the dynamic urban culture -and isn’t the whole point of choosing a college like PSU? She loves the tribal vibe of UP and has met a ton of people from diverse backgrounds and has come out of her Oregon small town shell to see and experience a mix of people who actually reflect the diversity of world all you young people will be entering. As a parent who endured dorms in the 70’s that looked like cramped, dark bunkers from a third world country with tiny filthy windows, the UP living units are a happy luxury….and yes – the view of the W river is beautiful and my daughter tells me how “awesome” it is the start each day with that picture in her head. Oh…and by the way – she is doing well in her classes, feels a sense of belonging and is actually have fun – a state that eluded her for 4 miserable years when she attended a rural, conservative, red neck Oregon high school. I am grateful for the UP option for my daughter.

    • Nice, El cheapo dad. Maybe you can save 50 bucks and stuff your daughter in a lower tier place. Portland State University is SURROUNDED by apartments of comparable price, all within walking distance. YOU did not do YOUR homework. And 90 percent of them have a much more pleasant living situation. You should give more thought to what you post and more empathy to the young kids living there, many who do not know any better and have never lived on their own.

  13. Is downtown housing. Get over it. Its still cheaper than anywhere else int downtown area and you save money AND time by not having to use public transportation. Not to mention that the deposit is cheap and they allow pets. Yeah it may not be the most impressive place but you could live in a dorm where they charge you 600 a month to share a room with someone you dont even know.
    To anyone who complains about housing prices… YOU LIVE IN A CITY.

  14. Hi, looks like there are mixed opinions about living in UP. I am currently considering moving in because it looks like the cheapest place in downtown. If anyone knows of a cheaper place that’s not ghetto, please let me know. Also, I’d like to ask people that are or have lived in UP. What do you love/hate about it. Do you recommend going for 2 bed 2 bath shared rooms for $500 or 4 bed 2 bath for 600? What are the pros and cons of each? Thanks for all the input. It’s greatly apreciated.

    • I live at UP, i am currently living in the 4bedroom 2bath, it is a fun apartment complex to live in although there are some small issues like the walls in your room done go all the way up to the ceiling with you neighboring roommate or you don’t get along with your roommates is another problem. The rooms are a little too small but it works for someone who is going to PSU and needs somewhere to stay within downtown. Yes maybe a little bit pricy but what you pay for is to live downtown with all the utilities included and furniture, also just living downtown is expensive. The staff are kind although they don’t reply to emails fast and lack communication sometimes is very annoying it does work. I do love that all the utilities are paid for, it is a nice thing to not worry about the water bill or light or electicity. The 2bed room shared in my opinion aren’t the best option when you don’t know who you will be a sharing a bedroom with, also you have to agree on certain things that in the privacy of your own bedroom you would be free to do.

  15. I have lived here since September. While I am largely happy with it, I DO wonder about some of the legalities in play. Will be consulting a lawyer to find out. I was told many different things by many different people while moving in- including a female manager. I have made my peace with those losses, however.. They now want us to sign a lease starting next SEPTEMBER now. And ONLY the first 264 or so people who sign up are guaranteed a place, and that is only if you sign up by February 24th. This is where I need to consult with a lawyer to see if it’s legal to (practically) force a SECOND lease 6-8 months in advance of when it would be in play. Something is very wrong here.
    I DO want to stay next year- but it’s so early that I can’t possibly know my plans yet!! I don’t want to have to sign over half a year early. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
    End of rant 😉

  16. This place is a joke! My friend got an MIP there and they served him with a 3 day notice the following day because he violated the lease. Really? 3 days to move in the middle of the quarter? The rent is outrageous compared to how small the place is. My friend lived in one of the 4 bedroom, 2 bath apartments where they each had their own bedroom. His bed (which was a full size) took up 90% of the room and the living room is like 5 feet wide by 10 feet long. Pretty sure I’ve seen homeless camps nicer than this place!

  17. As a current resident at university pointe i am honestly happy with this place. I had a roommate who argued the same that the place was too expensive but for the location it really isnt. you literally live on the psu campus and there is a shuttle a block away that takes you to pcc. also they made it so to max runs right in front of the building. so i can take to shuttle bus to pcc and use the max to go practically anywhere. its a great location and thats why its so expensive. also with utilities and internet covered for you its really not that bad of a deal if you go for the 4 bedroom 2 bath for only 600 a month. (given that your roomates arent assholes, but its portland and assholes are hard to come by here)

  18. Anyone who thinks that $1,224.00 – to – $1,259.00 a month for a ~300 sqft unfurnished studio apartment is a steal in Portland, is FUCKING DAFT. Not only do you have PSU’s University Housing, which has all of their units being half the price of U.P. and where you can get a one bedroom apartment that’s more then double the size of a private studio for ~$1,670 A TERM (unlike U.P. where the rent is month-to-month), but I have yet to find anywhere that offers less for the same price as U.P.. Park Plaza is cheaper, The Village At Lovejoy Fountain is cheaper, and The Westfall is cheaper (all of which are right on PSU’s property line)…there is also College Housing Northwest which is cheaper then U.P., though whilst it’s true that a few of their buildings are a ways away from P.S.U., they do offer a free shuttle from said building to the campus. Hell, even expensive places are cheaper for studios…Gallery Park is cheaper, The Vue is cheaper, EVEN CYAN IS CHEAPER and they are a luxury apartment complex.

    So, people, do your research. University Pointe is pretentious and only caters to those who are either fine with spending more for less, or for people who honestly are too lazy to Google affordable apartments in Portland. It was was never cost effective, and the owners of U.P. knew this…but, they saw a market, and wanted to throw their hat into the mix. In the end, are there expensive places in Portland where the rent is more then U.P.? Yes, but if you have ~$1,200.00 to spend on rent a month, then you will be able to find a ton of other places in Portland with more square-footage for less the price. I suggest you walk the Park Blocks. There are a lot of apartments along the Park Blocks who do very little – to – no advertising…so, you’ll need to write down the buildings name, Google their number, and call them.

    —Sources—
    http://www.pdx.edu/housing/sites/www.pdx.edu.housing/files/1213RateChart.pdf

    http://hotpads.com/apartments/Cyan-Portland-OR-97201–3g1smgyhd5ab2#lat=45.51344447723767&lon=-122.67870426177979&zoom=23&dupeGrouping=building&listingTypes=rental,sublet,room,corporate&includeVaguePricing=false&resultsPerQuad=24

  19. I will be attending PSU next semester, and am currently choosing between U.P or On Campus housing. I will be getting a studio either way, I also have an animal that I would like to bring. He is over the weight limit at U.P but, since he is an Emotional Wellness Animal, he could get into either or. Which one would you recommend?

  20. Great price, great location. Management by far is the worst that I have ever dealt with. I have read through the other comments on this feed and frankly I agree. However, not a single person has complained about the lackluster management. Maintenance takes a week to show up and fix a fridge, management never answers phone calls or responds to email, and no one seems to understand proper business etiquette.

  21. On-campus prices are only slightly cheaper, and space fills up quickly. Housing close to PSU costs way more, unless people are counting affordable housing. Those have wait lists that can be a year or more–not an option unless you’ve planned ridiculously far in advance.

    If you want to commute, parking for a term is $350 and the permits sell out fast. Riding a bus will likely take you an hour of valuable study time both ways. Moreover, the rental market in Portland has gotten bad over the past 5 years, so good luck finding a room under $600 a month remotely close to PSU.

    About the only valid points I see here are issues with couches and the staff. Having lived in a variety of situations throughout Portland, these sound pretty mild.

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