Identity Reno’s website advertises its building as “an entirely new approach to student living, unlike any other property in Reno,” and for students affected by the delayed construction that couldn’t be any more accurate. Originally set to be completed and ready for students to move in late August, the Identity apartments delayed move-in day for its future residents as far back as September 22. When given the news the apartments would not be completed, residents left in limbo were given two options. They could either be temporarily put up at the Circus Circus down the street from campus for free while receiving $100 a day, or they could find their own temporary place to stay while receiving both $200 a day and rent credit for the month of September. Given these two options, decisions had to be made quickly.
For Nathan Woo, that is an understatement. “I was given two days notice before my move in day that my apartment was not going to be ready,” Nathan said. “It was not expected at all.” His original move-in date was August 24, but he received the email that nobody planning on staying at Identity wanted to receive on August 22. Completely blindsided by the news, Nathan had to reach out to a friend and ask if he could stay with him for a week until his pushed back move in day of September 1. Luckily for Nathan, his friend agreed, so the Circus Circus option was off the table. A few days later however, he received another email from Identity saying his move in day was pushed back yet again to September 8. By the time September 8 rolled around, Nathan did not receive any more emails pushing the date back, and moved into his new apartment with ease, but not without noticing some flaws with the building.
“You can see what is supposed to be nice wooden floors with scratches on them. We cannot use the washers and dryers yet because they don’t have parts for them, and you can see some rushed paint jobs on the walls,” he said, adding construction never seemed to fail to begin at 7AM every morning.
With a construction delay as large as Identity’s, these types of technical and cosmetic obscurities are expected, but students are paying for a “luxurious” experience at Identity with the biggest floor plans going for over $1000 a month, so residents are hoping these issues are smoothed out in due time in order to get what they’re paying for.
“I just thought it would be as nice as advertised,” Nathan said, expressing confidence that eventually issues in the building would be attended to.
To the residents who ended up choosing the Circus Circus option, it’s safe to say a few cosmetic issues are not their main concern.
“I’m just excited to meet my new roommates and be closer to campus,” one student put up at the Circus Circus who requested to remain anonymous said.
For her, the decision between the two options Identity laid out to her, the Circus Circus was actually the better option because it was the option that came with free storage.
“I’m from out of state, so [upon Identity’s delay] I just wondered ‘where am I going to put all my stuff?’”
Though she was able to bring all of her things with her and get them stored, her move in date was also pushed back twice. Set to move in on August 24, the date eventually changed to September 22, or nearly a month into the fall semester. That meant collecting $100 a day for about a month, but also meant living in a hotel room without a Fridge.
“There isn’t a fridge in the room, but if I request one it’s extra. I have to eat food from the food court and I eat in my room, and it’s the same 3 places to eat every time,” she said.
As for commuting back and forth to campus she used Uber and paid for it with the money Identity was giving her. What Identity wasn’t giving her was rent credit since she was staying at the hotel and didn’t find her own place to stay. Set to move in September 22 she was still expected to pay full months’ rent for only living at the apartments 8 days out of the month.
The compensation Identity gave every student affected by the delay is essentially their way of righting their wrong, and for some students it was the one positive that came out of the entire experience. Elijah Gutierrez for example signed his lease in November 2016, but was only given seven days notice his apartment would not be ready on time, and as most people affected, had his original move in date pushed back by nearly a month.
“At first I was really frustrated because I didn’t know how I was going to make this whole thing work. Then as time went on I found a place to stay with some of my friends and realized it was a blessing in disguise. I’m making $200 a day and $23 a day in rent credit for doing absolutely nothing,” he said.
Despite being affected, his outlook on the situation overall became positive when things worked out okay for him, and he realized how fortunate he was compared to others. “Honestly for me it wasn’t too bad because I have a lot of places I could stay. For someone who doesn’t have too many places I can imagine it being very stressful for them,” he said.
As reported by News-4, Identity released a statement on August 30 addressing the construction delay.
“The construction crews are working around the clock to make every possible attempt to minimize the disruption and get our residents into their apartments as soon as possible. We are committed to minimizing the delay and ensuring we are accommodating and communicating with our residents throughout this process,” the statement read.
In a city where student housing is in high demand come every semester, what happened at Identity Reno this fall is the potential reality all other new housing complexes slowly rising around campus face. Identity Reno prides itself as a community that isn’t about fitting in, but rather standing out, and thanks to its troubled opening it did just that.