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Magnolia Reserve move-in delays spark concern for Valdosta State University students

A month into the 2023 Fall semester at Valdosta State, several students have still not moved into the city's newest student living complex, Magnolia Reserve.
Posted at 6:16 PM, Sep 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-19 18:16:50-04
  • Students leasing with Magnolia Reserve haven't been able to move in for six weeks.
  • The owner of the complex reports that the delays have been due to unfavorable weather.
  • The complex hopes to announce a final date by the end of the week.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT

While most students have settled into their class schedule, several of them haven't even been settled into their new apartments.

I'm Malia Thomas, neighborhood reporter for Valdosta, and I'm here at Valdosta State University where several students have been displaced due to moving delays from the city's latest student housing complex, Magnolia Reserve.

"It's like money out of my pocket I can save or do something else towards, but instead I'm spending food because I'm still at a hotel and not in my apartment."

Today, I spoke with Zenobia Harris, a music major with two years left to go at VSU. She has been waiting to move into her brand new apartment at Magnolia Reserve since August 1st. Due to an initial construction delay, the complex has been placing leaseholders at hotels such as Hampton Inn and Wingate by Wyndham. Six weeks later, Zenobia's staying in her third hotel.

"So I feel if y'all do want us to pay rent, at least have every month discounted or something but not the full price. So I think its just not as fair."

Mandeep and Partap Singh, owners of Magnolia Reserve, in a statement, explained that the delays have been due to weather, with the latest one being Hurricane Idalia. They also have a provision for lease holders, stating that residents have the option of staying in one of hotels or choosing alternate housing. Magnolia Reserve has agreed to waive the rental fee only to those who are not staying in hotels.

Zenobia further explained to me that students in hotels have been paying rent the entire time, and have not received a stipend they were promised the first time they swapped hotels. They are still on the hook for next month's rent.

I asked Magnolia Reserve what they were planning to do as far as recourse for students coming out of pocket, their response was:

"We truly apologize for all inconveniences this has caused to the community. We were not expecting delays in our construction process but we are working diligently to accommodate our residents until they are able to move into their homes."

"I really hope the move-in date is approaching soon, that we do get a move-in date by this week."— Zenobia Harris

Ayona Hill, mother of Zenobia Harris, told me that while the circumstances behind the delays are somewhat understandable, the situation is no less frustrating.

"Right now, I know if it is as stressful for everyone else as it is for my daughter, they're not living comfortably right now."

The owners hope to have a final move-in date by the end of this week.

I'm Malia Thomas, ABC27.