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Standard at Knoxville Delayed Like Boone Project, Local Parent Expresses Frustration

The Standard of Boone development is located in between Faculty Street and Blowing Rock Road. This photo was taken in late August. Photos by Ken Ketchie

By Jesse Wood

The Standard at Boone isn’t the only Landmark Properties’ development currently frustrating student tenants as the school year rolls along into October.

The Knoxville News Sentinel published a story this week about delays at The Standard of Knoxville and cited concerns with a few other projects by developer Landmark Properties.

Landmark Properties spokesman Cody Nichelson, who noted in that story that the rerouting of Boone Creek has delayed construction locally in Boone, defended the company’s track record in emailed responses to Knoxville paper:

“Though they are occurring during the same calendar year, delays in Boone and Knoxville are anomalies — not the norm — and our company’s industry-leading track record provides ample evidence of that. This fall, we have delivered six of eight projects on time, and all of our 2017 deliveries are tracking on schedule, as confirmed by third-party inspectors.”

The Standard at Boone was initially scheduled to open up during move-in weekend prior to the beginning of the fall semester at App State. In late June, Landmark Properties said they were on schedule, but that changed in the latter part of July when Landmark cited “unforeseen construction delays, challenging weather conditions and a tight labor market” as causing move-in delays for most of its tenants until early October.

About the first of September, Nichelson noted that the move-in date was anticipated to be early-to-mid October. Yesterday when asked about an update on progress of the Boone student-housing complex, Nichelson responded: “Related to specific timetables and projections, we have nothing new to announce at this time but we are working as quickly as possible to complete the project and move students in.”

On Thursday afternoon, a frustrated parent of a frustrated tenant who is living in a hotel during the construction of The Standard at Boone called High Country Press. Jane Pownall of Charlotte said her son is frustrated with his hotel living situation while juggling a heavy-course load with this added “layer of stress.” She’s frustrated with what she called a “lack of transparency.”

Tenants of the 561-bed complex are holed up two-to-a-room in several local hotels. Most 500-plus tenants chose the option of the developer providing hotel accommodations. This option included a credit for each day of the delay and a $250 gift card upon moving in.

In speaking with a Landmark Properties contact person based in Georgia, Pownall said the developers have booked hotel rooms until Nov. 4 but don’t think they will need to use them that far out. Pownall said she’s concerned that the apartment complex might not be ready by Nov. 4 and then what?

“When I asked what their contingency plan was after Nov. 4,” Pownall said, “all’s I got were crickets.”

Pownell said she’d been expecting more specific details from Landmark Properties about the progress of The Standard at Boone this week but was recently told that wouldn’t happen until next week.

“I need some info. I’m about at the point to see if I could make other housing arrangements. This doesn’t seem to be coming to an end,” Pownell said.

The last mega student apartment complex to be built in and around Boone was The Cottages of Boone in 2013. Capstone Collegiate Communities opened the nearly 900-bed development above N.C. 105 – but not until after delays led to tenants starting off the semester in double-occupied hotel rooms like The Standard’s tenants today.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated following a response from Nichelson. See his entire response regarding concerns, which HCP cited from the Knoxville paper of Landmark Properties’ developments near Louisiana State University; University of Florida; and Penn State. 

The Metropolitan in State College:
As they relate to Landmark Properties, these claims are false.  We acquired The Metropolitan in State College from another developer, and from day one, we always projected and communicated that it would be delivered in fall 2017. All lease start dates for this property reflect that projection, and the development is tracking on schedule. No students have been displaced or affected by this projected delivery schedule.
The Standard at Baton Rouge:
These delays were not as extensive as those in Boone and Knoxville. Many residents were only delayed by one week and all residents moved in within four weeks of the scheduled move-in date. In fact, most residents were moved in prior to classes beginning. These delays were caused by unsuitable soil conditions, unfavorable weather and a subcontractor who defaulted on the company. After the third-party contractor was terminated, Landmark Properties completed the project.
The Standard at Gainesville:
Any reports that The Standard at Gainesville is behind schedule are completely false. As a matter of fact, The Standard at Gainesville is tracking well ahead of schedule, according to multiple third-party inspectors.
It is true that construction on a public roadway near the development, which was required by the City, did begin later than originally anticipated. This roadwork neither affects nor is it affected by construction on the actual development, which as previously stated, is well ahead of schedule.