The Hub at Auburn

A developer plans to build a large private dormitory project along West Glenn Avenue near downtown Auburn. The developer recently submitted site plans and began discussions with the city staff.

The five-story private dorm project, called "The Hub at Auburn" in submitted documents, would span from Cox Street to Thomas Street and from West Glenn Avenue to Genelda Avenue. Private dormitories are permitted by right in Urban Neighborhood–West, which allows a maximum height of 75 feet.

Preliminary plans detail a large development consisting of 323 units and 836 beds, although that number is likely to change as the project unfolds.

Building elevations show that the building rises to 68 feet tall at the top of the fifth story in all directions. 

The developer met with city staff on Tuesday to begin discussing the project before it undergoes the more formal Development Review Team process.

"Before we make what we call full Development Review Team comments, this is us having opportunity to have dialogue with them about what we see very early and what our concerns are and additional information needed for us to accomplish that full review," said Assistant City Manager Megan Crouch, who added that the developer submitted the plans Oct. 15. 

At its meeting with the developer and its design team this week, city staff expressed some concerns about the building's facade, although that is not abnormal, said Crouch, who added that the developer has voluntarily agreed to take the project and its renderings before the Downtown Design Review Committee.

"When they are ready to avail themselves of that process where they anticipate making adjustments based on some comments staff already had, then they will go to the Downtown Design Review Committee," said Crouch. "I just want people to understand that as these renderings move forward they will evolve and change."

The project will also present a design that differs from other private dormitory projects as far as how it treats the parking deck. Whereas the parking decks at the West & Wright and 191 College developments are mostly wrapped and hidden from view by the residential part of the buildings, "The Hub" will have an exposed parking deck visible along West Glenn Avenue. 

"This one’s a little more exposed, and so they’re amenable and open to changing some treatments," said Crouch. "We’re not trying to hide that it’s parking but because it’s on Glenn Avenue there will be a lot of community interest and we want to make sure that architecturally it’s still a parking garage but it has some strong architectural elements in there. They’re willing to consider that and bring something to Downtown Design Review Committee that addresses that."

The name of the development, "The Hub," will also likely change in the near future as Auburn already has a housing development called The Hub at Auburn along Shug Jordan Parkway.

The project was included as one of two unidentified projects in the recently completed study that compiled a comprehensive inventory of the city's student-housing stock. The study found that the city will have 34,678 bedrooms that fall under student multi-family developments, Auburn University Housing or Academic Detached Dwelling Units, including six projects that are either under construction or approved. Auburn University plans to slightly increase its enrollment to about 32,000 over the next five years.

"The numbers don’t equal. There’s no balance there. One’s out of balance with the other. We know what Auburn University’s plans are, finally, and we’ve got a lot more beds than we do students," said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders. "I don’t want to predict what that might or might not be, but I think it’s obvious we’ve got some decisions we need to make going into Auburn’s future."

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