After six weeks, some students remain living in hotels as local apartment complex delays continue.
Pictured: The Flight as of Sept. 24. Photo credit Olivia Shirk for Flyer News
Lucy Waskiewicz | News Editor
Editor’s Note: Due to the ongoing nature of this story and the lease agreements mentioned, we have given some of our sources pseudonyms to protect their identities. Any similarity of names is coincidental and bears no truth to the identities of our sources.
When University of Dayton senior Sophia Bennett signed her lease with the new apartment complex being built near campus, she was promised a fully-furnished luxury unit— not to mention a fitness center, study rooms, a private pool and courtyard, a coffee bar and a handful of other lavish amenities.
What she got was the first five weeks of her fall semester spent living in a room at the local Marriott.
Bennett is one of dozens of UD students who signed a lease with The Flight, a non-UD-owned apartment building currently under construction on Alberta Street. Offering studio,1,2,3 and 4-bedroom luxury apartments, it caught attention as an attractive new option for those pursuing landlord housing for the 2023-24 school year.
If it was finished on time, it may well have been.
Instead, The Flight remains crippled by ongoing construction delays, stranding students like Bennett in the rooms of local hotels and provoking others to break their leases altogether. Many students have accused the management of being unreachable, lying about move-in dates, providing unreliable construction updates and consistently mishandling students’ hotel accommodations.
The Flight was originally scheduled to begin construction in the spring of 2020 but was delayed during the COVID-19 pandemic. It first broke ground in November 2021, and project developers blamed the pandemic for its delay.
Bennett signed her lease in January 2023 with assurances that The Flight would be finished by August. Like most students with leases, she received an email notifying her of an “unforeseen construction delay” less than a month before her scheduled move-in date.
“A week or so before we were originally supposed to move in, my roommate and I were informed we would have a 2-week move-in delay,” Bennett said. “At that point, I was hopeful we would only have to stay in a hotel for 2 weeks so I tried not to be upset about the situation.”
But two weeks turned into five as Bennett’s move-in was consistently pushed back and she and her roommate moved haphazardly around hotel rooms.
“After living in the hotel for one week, The Flight became very unreliable,” she said. “They rarely picked up the phone, and also said we would receive weekly construction updates every Friday, which were sent only sometimes.”
Two days before their second rescheduled move-in date, Bennett and her roommate were told they were instead being moved to another hotel. The Flight told them to wait for an email with details on their new move-in date and hotel change.
The email never came, and Bennett and her roommate were forced to check out of their current hotel with no knowledge of their next stay.
“We had nowhere to go,” she said. “After an hour of trying to call The Flight, someone finally picked up and it took them 4 hours to figure out where we were staying. Most other students at our hotel were in the same situation. We found out later that The Flight had only extended nine students’ stay at that hotel.”
The same incident occurred the next week.
Bennett finally moved into her apartment on Sept. 22, but many students remain stuck in hotel rooms. Most students are staying at the Marriott at the University of Dayton— a nearly half-hour walk to campus without a car or reliable ride. The Flight paid for students’ hotel accommodations and refunded up to $500 of August rent if students’ move-in dates were delayed past Aug. 31.
Many said that the stress of hotel living negatively affected the start of their semester.
“Living in a hotel has been strange and straining my social life,” senior Harrison Reinhart said. “It’s also been extremely difficult to get onto campus considering how far the walk is.”
Meals are also an issue for hotel-bound students, who lack the appliances and equipment to cook for themselves. Although The Flight is crediting each student’s Flyer Express account with $100 each week to purchase food from campus dining halls and local restaurants, many visit friends’ residences to prepare food for themselves.
“Having no kitchen and having to rely on outside sources for meals is aggravating because I constantly have to leave to eat something,” senior Eric Adams said. “And eating out isn’t the healthiest option either.”
As of writing, both Reinhart and Adams have yet to move into The Flight.
Issues with The Flight aren’t over for those who have been able to move in, either. Senior Lindsey Winslow moved in on Sept. 9 after three weeks spent renting an AirBnB near campus so that she could have a kitchen and a shorter walk to her classes. However, she said her experience living at The Flight has been compromised by its ongoing construction.
“My actual apartment is really nice and what I expected, but the building overall is still undergoing a lot of construction,” Winslow said. “The downsides are that most of the amenities are not ready yet and the construction is pretty loud and starts early in the morning.”
She remains positive toward The Flight’s completion.
“I think once the building is complete it will be really nice and definitely worth it,” she said.
However, the difficulties of move-in ultimately prompted many students to break their leases. The Flight gave students three days after each move-in delay email update to terminate their lease. However, students were not told the new date of their rescheduled move-in until after they decided to keep their lease.
Senior Jenna Latuszewski terminated her lease after she received an email from The Flight two days before her scheduled move-in stating that it was pushed back two weeks.
“We were stressed out that we were going to be living in a hotel 25 minutes from campus for who knows how long, considering their communication to us was terrible,” Latuszewski said. “So we decided on the third day we were given, per the lease, to terminate it.”
Latuszewski and her roommates found a different landlord apartment on East Stewart Street, roughly a 15-minute walk from campus and close to many other students’ landlord housing.
“Coming back to campus without a place to live definitely gave me a rocky start to the semester,” she said. “Had I known I would be without a place to live prior to returning to Dayton, I would have at least had time to figure out an alternative plan.”
Other students who broke their leases have turned to UD to try and secure last-minute University-owned housing. University officials said they are aware of the delays with The Flight and have reached out to students to inform them of available housing options for the 2023-24 year.
“The University made offers of housing to all students who contacted UD Housing and Residence Life to discuss their situation and explore potential on-campus options,” University officials said in a statement to Flyer News. “[We] will continue to do so, including to students currently in properties that may no longer have availability in the coming weeks.”
The building currently remains engulfed in a bustle of scaffolding, cranes and construction workers, and many students grow increasingly frustrated as their move-in dates continue to be delayed.
Bennett said she’s glad to be out of the hotel, but that the stress of the last five weeks should have been prevented.
“I understand they were put in a bad position with the construction not being done in time, but it makes it a lot worse that they didn’t give us realistic updates in regards to construction updates and our move-in date,” she said. “If they had been more reliable and easier to contact then this in-between time could have been a lot less stressful.”
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