Rental demand in metro area soars to new heights - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Rental demand in metro area soars to new heights

It's a good time to be in the apartment business. That's what one broker said as high end and moderate rentals are being snapped up as soon as they go on the market.

The new Medical Center Complex is helping to fuel demand and make price less of an issue for people clamoring to get downtown.

Marcel Wisznia is architect and developer of The Saratoga. He says the building sat on the market for 20 years, but he believed in it.

"Everyone looked at this neighborhood on the edge of our downtown and said 'I'm not sure it's ready for the change yet,'" he said. "All I did was turn 180 degrees and said the downtown isn't the market for this building, it's the Tulane University Medical Center."

The Saratoga is one of three downtown buildings Wisznia completed after Hurricane Katrina with a wall that lists all of the victims of the storm.

He says 90 percent of the 155 modern units are occupied. This one bedroom is more than 600 square feet that easily fetches upwards of $1,200 a month.

Larry Schedler is an apartment broker.

"There's an increasing demand of people wanting to live in urban market and that is fueled by the medical center coming up," he said. "You can see in the Mid City area how positive it has been in the migration of people coming back to the inner city."

"My roommate goes to Tulane School of Public Health and I'm from Connecticut and I thought it would be a cool place to be young," said Bridget Hinz, who lives downtown.

Schedler says right now there are 850 units being developed in downtown New Orleans. Wisznia says since he opened the Saratoga three years ago, he's seen all kinds of opportunities for housing spring up around him.

"The Elk was just completed and now it's leasing, 1111 Tulane, the Oil and Gas building right behind the Saratoga is scheduled to be apartments," Wisznia said.

Schedler said The Esplanade at City Park built in 1972 was sold a year ago to a group out of Palm Beach.

"We had investors all over the country and out of the country bidding for this property, "he said.

He calls the medical center a game changer.

"All people have to do is see the size, there will be a lot of people working there."

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