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ICYMI: CapU announces student dorm purchase in Squamish

Three dorms cost $55 million with $48 million coming from the provincial government.
One of the dorms in question at the CapU campus in Squamish.

After a large provincial investment, student housing will be available this fall at Capilano University’s Squamish campus.

In a news release on May 29, CapU announced that alongside the B.C. government, it purchased three student housing buildings on the Squamish campus for a total of $55 million. The province invested $48 million into the purchase.

“Housing availability in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor is almost non-existent, and we recognize that creates a significant barrier for many learners who wish to study in Squamish,” said Paul Dangerfield, president of Capilano University, in the release. 

“We are pleased to be able to offer guaranteed on-campus housing to any student who enrols at CapU Squamish for Fall 2024.”

There are 333 beds between the three buildings, located at 3021, 3031, and 3041 University Boulevard. The rooms are typical student dorms with a bed, desk, chair, wardrobe and other amenities. Most of the rooms share a washroom with another room. There are also accessible rooms with private washrooms.

In August 2023, CapU announced it had purchased the shuttered Quest University for $63.2 million, again with a $48 million investment from the province. With the student housing, $118.2 million was spent to acquire the university, with $96 million coming from the province.

In the release, Lisa Beare, the Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills, touted the need for stable housing for students which, in turn, would also lessen the demand on the local rental market.

“Capilano University students in the Sea-to-Sky Corridor will now have the option to live steps away from their classes, making it easier to focus on their studies and get the skills they need to thrive in B.C.,” she said.

The release notes that student housing applications will open on June 3, and rooms will cost between $6,450 and $6,850 per term,  including meals.

Prior to this announcement, some local residents had been living at the buildings but were served eviction notices for May 1 from the previous owner Bethel Corporation and Southern Star Developments LP, giving the reason that the buildings would be returning to student housing. B.C.’s Ministry of Housing told The Squamish Chief in early May that the Residential Tenancy Branch was investigating these eviction notices.

Four student housing buildings with 416 rooms were for sale, and according to Marshall MacLeod, the real estate agent on the listing, they had been listed at an undisclosed price since late August 2023. 

The buildings are zoned by the District of Squamish under what’s called University Campus 1 (UC-1). Under the UC-1 zoning, these buildings can be used as short-term rental and tourist accommodations from May 2 to Aug. 31 of each year.