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Sunday October 23, 2016
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A Tale of Two Buildings



With its brick detailing and window bays, Landmark looks like four or five traditional downtown storefronts stacked atop one another. The 1965 Towers, a brash International-style monolith, makes no such pretense. With its once-modish outdoor swimming pool and soaring profile, was it considered a luxury building? "Not exactly," recalls Dick Scheer. "It was mostly just ... tall." Cynthia Shevel, whose Middle Earth gift shop has been a neighbor since the mid-1970s, says Maynard House was probably the more upscale address of the period.

But just as it did in the 1950s and '60s, when, along with the skyscraping U Towers and U Plaza, scores of nineteenth-century Ann Arbor dwellings were replaced by low-level apartment cubes, the vogue in student rentals has once again switched course.

Today's trend reached national attention last December, when the Wall Street Journal trumpeted a bold new age of "resort living" in student housing. Landmark is owned and managed by Texas-based American Campus Communities, the company hailed by the Journal as the nation's top campus developer. Its menu of Sandals-like attractions includes free tanning, yoga, Wi-Fi hot spots, a movie room, fitness center, sauna, hot tub, sun deck, fire pit, and barbecue grills--all mere amenities to sleek apartments with wet bars, sectional sofas, hardwood floors, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

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