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Apartment life: Strack stacks up

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  • GSW properties owns two apartment complexes, Strack I and Strack II
  • Accessible management, central location and affordability are two main draws to the buildings
  • The rent per month for the apartments ranges from $445 to $825

Joe Woelfel and Peter Wagoner were in a bit of a bind last spring. The living arrangements they had made fell apart, and they needed somewhere to live this year.

"It was March, so we knew there wasn't going to be much available," said Woelfel, a junior in the College of Communication.

Looking for a place to stay, they stumbled upon a two-bedroom apartment on CraigsList.org: Strack II, 911 N. 17th St., across from the Renee Row Apartments.

"The tenant last year signed a two-year lease," he said. "Something came up, and he needed a sublet."

Usually, subletting isn't something that GSW, the building's management, allows. But under their extraordinary circumstances, the management company let it go. The students are happy where they ended up.

Accessible and understanding management is one of the main draws to properties owned by GSW, Woelfel said.

Response time from their landlord has been great too, Woelfel said.

"Our garbage disposal broke, and within a day she came over to fix it herself," Woelfel said.

Woelfel added that Strack II is not a place where students party much. He said since they are strategically located across the street from Renee Row, they can go there to party, if need be.

"I really like (living here)," he said. "It's quiet. Nothing's too fancy. It's clean and a decent size."

According to Woelfel, they split the $750 a month for their two-bedroom apartment, complete with a refrigerator, stove and garbage disposal. Water, gas and heat are included in the rent payment at Strack II. Their unit is one of 24 in the three-story building. Wagoner said parking is available for $75 per month.

Prime location and price are more qualities the tenants at Strack said they have come to enjoy.

"Usually you have to go somewhere scary-far away from campus to find something cheap," said Wagoner, also a College of Communication junior. "Here, we're not too far away from campus."

Danielle Olson, a senior in the College of Engineering, lived in Renee Row last year. She and her roommates were looking for something cheaper, in better condition and about the same distance from campus.

They found a two-bedroom apartment in Strack II, and now pay "almost a third" of what they did at Renee Row. The four roommates split the $825 per month rent.

But affordability aside, Olson said the place isn't well kept. Her apartment has cracked, stained tiles and small, old appliances. The kitchen is small, but manageable, she said.

"It is very clear that there have not been any renovations done to the building in many years," she said.

Olson said they get along well with their landlord. But since the landlord does all the repairs herself, Olson recommended she hire outside help.

Located a few blocks east is the other GSW property, Strack I, 1303-19 W. Kilborn Ave.

Tony Meyer, a 2004 graduate of the University of Notre Dame and a first-year law student at Marquette, pays $445 for his one-bedroom basement unit.

The apartments there include a refrigerator and stove, plus an on-site property manager. Not included in his rent are gas, heat, cable and Internet bills.

Like the Strack II tenants, he has had a smooth relationship with management since moving in this August.

Meyer said location was a big draw of living in the four-story Strack I, which ranges from one- to three-bedroom units.

"For me, it's real close to the law school, so that's nice," he said.

Both properties include laundry facilities on the premises.

"We have real retro washing machines," Meyer said. "They make some funky sounds, but they get the job done."

Both buildings are secured by a buzzer to restrict outside access, and both prohibit pets.

GSW and the landlord, Juanita L. Werra, declined to comment on the properties.

Olson said students looking for an apartment should know what qualities they want in a living space.

"Think about exactly what it is you want in an apartment — what qualities are most important to you and begin looking early," she said.

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