When Alyssa Maresco signed her lease for the new apartment complex, The William, last December, she and her roommates were more than relieved after their previous living situation fell through.
Marketing material for The William, located on North Finley Street just blocks from the heart of downtown Athens, billed it as, “the best student living experience possible.”
Alyssa could not wait for the 2022 fall semester to begin so she could enjoy all the amenities of the new complex. But as move-in day approached, she realized that the promise of luxury housing was turning into a nightmare.
The large complex wasn’t ready on time. Instead of moving into a brand new apartment for the fall semester, The William’s management company moved Alyssa into a hotel room, separated from her roommates. A situation she describes as, “frustrating as a senior” and has caused her and her roommates, “so much stress.”Why It’s Newsworthy: Multiple construction delays have prevented many UGA students from moving into The William.
Unfortunately, Alyssa is not the only student in the same situation. Over 300 students who signed a lease with The William received the same email she did in July, stating that their original move-in date had been pushed back and that living accommodations would be provided. From being promised a brand-new apartment complex to living in a hotel, almost two months later, students are still dealing with the chaos of The William. In a recent statement, the management blamed “material and labor shortages” for the construction delays.
Construction of The William was scheduled to be finished in July and ready for tenants to move in on Aug. 14. On July 26, the first delay notice was sent out via email stating that the building would be move-in ready on Sept. 7. Until then, students were given the option to find a living situation themselves, or they could choose to be placed in hotels around the Athens area, including the Holiday Inn Express, SpringHill Suits, SpringHill Suits West, Hyatt Place, and Hilton Garden Inn. To “compensate for living costs,” The William gave students a $500 gift card and $30 per day.
When asked if the money did help compensate her, Maresco said, “No, food is so expensive, and I had to eat out every meal because I didn’t have a kitchen.”
Even More Delays
The second delay notice sent out by The William was on Aug. 31 pushing the move-in date back to Sept. 18. However, on Sept. 17, The William released a statement on their website delaying the move-in date indefinitely. The statement also claimed The William will no longer be able to provide living accommodations, and tenants were given the option of a cash payment or they could terminate their lease without penalty. An email was later sent out claiming Oct. 15 as an expected date for construction to be complete.
Although the contractor HJ Russel, The William, and even construction workers refused to give interviews, an AT&T Inc. employee did comment on his part of the job. It was the first day he had been sent to the construction site because his company would eventually be supplying the internet for the building. He felt confident AT&T inc. would not complete their part of the job for “at least a few months,” much past the expected completion date of Oct. 15.
With no clear end in sight, many students are unsure whether to terminate their lease or trust that the building will be ready when anticipated. Some students and their families have hired lawyers to help resolve the problem. For others, like sophomore Ben Puckett, finding a place to live became a priority. After another student had a conflict at the Lark Athens, Puckett says he got lucky and is now waiting until The William is complete.
Puckett is maintaining a positive attitude.
“I think it will be good if it is ever finished,” he said.
His mother, Wendy Puckett, does not feel the same.
“They did wrong by hundreds of college students and should have just been transparent up front,” she said.
As for Maresco and her roommates, they terminated their lease with The William.
“I feel so relieved and a lot less stressed out,” she said. “I am so happy to be living with my roommates again, too, instead of us all living separately in hotels. I don’t have to worry about where I will be permanently living.”
Clay Britton is a fifth-year student at UGA majoring in journalism with a minor in sports management.
Show Comments (0)