Tenants of The Hub on Campus say they are frustrated by a chaotic move-in process, lack of advertised amenities and an incomplete building.
Problems with The Hub first became apparent to tenants when the scheduled move-in date was delayed five days, from Aug. 12 to Aug. 17. Students were compensated by The Hub with rent abatement: $30 a day for general expenses and up to $150 a day for hotels. However, many tenants felt that this was not enough to cover the real cost of temporary living arrangements.
“They said they would cover up to $150,” said Juwon Lee, a post-doctoral researcher at Purdue. “But the problem is that they didn’t find accommodation for us, which is a major thing, because there was no accommodation around West Lafayette at that time.”
As a result, Lee had to use unconventional methods to find housing while the Hub was being completed.
“I only found a place by putting up a post on the Purdue University sublet (Facebook group),” she said. “And then some people contacted me, and I had to choose, because they were all strangers to me.”
The move-in troubles were especially difficult for international students.
“My parents were super mad and annoyed at the same time because it’s my first time in West Lafayette,” said Angela Hsu, a freshman from Taiwan in the College of Liberal Arts. “But they couldn’t help because they’re in another country.”
Tenants were further inconvenienced a day before the move-in date when The Hub failed to get its temporary certificate of occupancy.
“You have no place to stay, no place to shower,” Hsu said. “You have to stay at someone’s living room for a few nights. And every single night, (tenants) are expecting the 17th. And then they quit move-in day again.”
According to Erik Carlson, director of development for West Lafayette, the building failed to get its temporary certificate of occupancy due to electrical and elevator issues. The Hub was able to get its certificate around 11 p.m. on Aug. 17 after an emergency inspection by the city.
However, tenants’ problems did not go away when they moved in.
“Our room was very trashed,” said Teimuraz Chichinadze, a tenant and student in Krannert School of Management. “Like tons of cigarette butts and stuff like that.”
The elevator issues that delayed The Hub’s certificate of occupancy continue to affect tenants’ lives as well.
“The elevators are getting constantly stuck,” Chichinadze said. “At least four times firefighters came because people were stuck in there.”
According to Lee, firefighters also warned tenants to not get into certain elevators.
Other issues described by tenants include broken Wi-Fi and air conditioning, no cable TV and dents in the drywall. Additionally, the building did not have secure access, so anyone could’ve entered the building.
Tenants don’t believe they should be paying full rent until all the issues are fixed.
“We feel like there has been a lot of deception going on this whole process, and we’re the ones suffering for it,” Lee said. “At least until all of the promises, like facilities, are done, why don’t we get a discount on our rent?”
The city has been working with tenants and Core Spaces, the company that owns The Hub, to resolve the situation. However, Carlson said there is very little the city can do at this point.
“When it comes to civil matters, there is nothing any municipality can do in a situation like this,” Carlson said. “We have asked for Core Spaces to look at ways to help rectify these situations. And stated it would be nice if there was compensation provided to these tenants.”
This is not the first time that Core Spaces, which is responsible for 4,358 beds around the country, has received complaints. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, the company is facing a class-action lawsuit for false advertising and mold.
Core Spaces did not respond to The Exponent’s questions. However, in an email to West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis, a company representative stated that the company has issued $250,000 in credits to tenants. In addition, secure access control has been completed. The company is also offering complimentary professional cleaning services until Sept. 15.
In a recent meeting of the Area Plan Commission, members discussed the future of development in West Lafayette, which could include prohibiting high-rises larger than 10 stories, developing more green space and creating a modern grid pattern of roads downtown. Constituents are encouraged to contact their city councilors with feedback on the plan.