Warmack: “Here we grow again”; Claflin opens townhouse complex | Local
Claflin University faculty and staff will now have more opportunities to live close to campus.
The university celebrated the grand opening of the Villas at Claflin on Friday. The Villas is a nine townhouse complex located at 2005 Magnolia Street across from campus.
Two-story, two-bedroom, 1-1/2-bath townhouses are reserved specifically for Claflin faculty and staff.
“Here we are growing again,” said Claflin University President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack. “It’s part of the Uplift and Transform program and we look forward to continuing to be an anchor in this community.”
The townhouses contain a living room and kitchen complete with all new stainless steel appliances. The units are unfurnished.
RHI, a minority company, carried out the contract work to modernize and renovate the apartments.
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The monthly cost for a townhouse is $850 per month.
“They’re moving fast,” Warmack said, noting apartments are about 90 percent occupied. “They’re invisible: for the price, for the location right in front of campus, people get them very quickly.”
Warmack said the apartments are a positive recruiting tool for the university.
“It’s phenomenal,” he said. “Finding quality housing in Orangeburg at a below-market price makes all the difference.”
Warmack said three of the professors who applied for the apartments are new to the university.
“It was a selling point for three of them,” he said. “They weren’t going to come unless it was available.”
The university is in preliminary talks on other affordable housing options, he said.
Warmack said townhouses are part of his vision for economic and workforce development.
“As a pillar of this community that has existed for approximately 153 years, we have a civic and moral responsibility to continue to grow the community and have an economic impact,” Warmack said. “This is just the beginning of this play.”
Warmack said he was excited about the opportunities for faculty and staff.
“We continue to invest in students. You can see the student center being built, the halls of residence, but we also have to think about faculty and staff and their commitment,” Warmack said.
“It’s a special place,” he said.
According to Orangeburg County property records, Claflin purchased the property in August 2021 for $550,000 from Magnolia Apartments LLC.
“It’s debt-free,” Warmack said. “We have no debt on this. That’s why we can offer it at a below-market price to make sure we haven’t passed the cost on to our teachers and staff.
The townhouses aren’t the only developments announced by the university recently.
The university received $3 million in federal funds to upgrade the Way Building on Memorial Plaza to turn it into the Claflin University downtown community center.
It will house the Claflin University Center for Social Justice, the Pathway from Prison program, studios for young professionals and a business incubation site.
The building, which is located at the corner of Russell Street and Church Street, could also house retail businesses.
Earlier this year, the university also opened a three-story, $30 million student center.
Plans call for the center to include a theater, performing arts center, 800-seat ballroom, esports center, meeting/conference rooms and a food court with nationally branded restaurants.
The university hopes to open the 85,000 square foot center by June 2023. It will be located at the corner of Magnolia Street and Goff Avenue.