Masonvale Nears Capacity, Builds on Community Feeling

Posted: June 28, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: June 25, 2010 at 2:15 pm

By Dave Andrews


Now that most of the units are inhabited, Masonvale is developing a real community feel.

After a slow start last fall leasing units in Masonvale, the new faculty and staff housing community is nearly full. Now that construction is complete, the homey feeling of a neighborhood is settling in.

Masonvale is a community of luxury apartments on the Fairfax Campus featuring the sought-after amenities. Each of the townhomes and apartments comes complete with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and ceramic tile floors.

But beyond the look and comfort of a new home, the intangibles make life easier for nearly all who live there.

“I could live in a different community and still enjoy some of the comforts and ease we have in Masonvale. But it’s great knowing that Mason supports the residents and the concept of Masonvale,” says Daniel Robb, assistant dean of admissions. He moved into the neighborhood last December.

“It says a lot about our university — that they would make this commitment to us, especially during difficult economic times. Providing their employees with a first-class place to live, enabling us to be more productive at work and allowing us to be a part of the growing university community.”

Working in the Office of Admissions, Robb already felt involved with the campus, but now he says he feels even closer to the community around him. He says not all residents know everyone in their neighborhood on a personal level, but they still watch out for one another more so than they might in other communities.

“Living here has made building relationships with your neighbors much easier,” Robb says. “We automatically have a common bond right upfront. It’s a feeling like we’re a part of something positive.”

If the look and feel of Masonvale aren’t enough incentive to move in, the rental rates just might catch the eye. The primary function of these residences is to attract and retain top-notch employees, especially faculty members, by setting rental rates slightly lower than market value.

“The concept of creating faculty housing certainly isn’t new within higher education,” says Tom Calhoun, vice president for facilities.

“It’s fairly common among large, established universities; especially those in urban areas. Masonvale significantly raises the image of Mason by appealing to a greater number of potential faculty members.”

As a resident herself, Shirley Travis, dean of the College of Health and Human Services, highly recommends Masonvale and ensures that all prospective faculty and staff of the college receive ample information about the community.

Travis and her husband recently sold their large family home in the City of Fairfax. The two decided Masonvale was a great option for them as they decide where to purchase their next home.

“The university was very accommodating in helping us make a big life transition when we sold our home,” Travis says. “We had no idea how quickly it would sell, so having the option to live in Masonvale gave us a great deal of flexibility. That made the move as painless and stress-free as it could have been.”

Travis also loves being a part of the campus community. Though her commute wasn’t that much longer before she moved to Masonvale, she says being able to easily commute on foot is a huge plus.

“We’re thrilled to be living there,” she says. “It’s hard to beat a quick, 12-minute-walk to the office.”

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