After a new apartment complex this school year, The Avenue, came to Orono, long-standing complexes such as The Reserve — formerly known as The Grove — and Orchard Trails, have had to put significant effort into getting people to continue to sign with them.
Paige Castonguay, a sophomore at the University of Maine, lives at Orchard Trails this year and has already re-signed for next year. “I’m paying $515 this year and they are dropping the price to $440, which is awesome. The maintenance [team] is always on top of things. They were outside helping to shovel cars out after the huge snow storm,” she said.
Outside of Orchard Trails, they have a huge sign that says, “Now Leasing. Take a Tour Today! Fun Events and Prizes $440!” This is currently one of the cheapest places to live in Orono.
Orchard Trails is also offering a $100 bonus to anyone that refers a new resident. A resident even posted to Facebook with a unique proposal. “Are you thinking about signing at Orchard Trails and want to make easy money by simply signing to live there next year? I’m willing to split my $100 bonus in half with you if you simply put my name down as a referral. At the end of the day, you win, I win, we both win, and most importantly we both will have an extra $50 for simply signing at Orchard Trails.”
Mikayla Becker, a sophomore at the University of Maine, lives at The Reserve. She signed her lease with The Reserve because her commute from home was too long. “They’re offering money if you re-sign, and when I signed they were offering $800 to people to sign. They put me in an apartment with a baby and didn’t do anything about it afterwards. The apartments are cheap and dirty, maintenance doesn’t do anything to help and the snow removal is a disaster. They were more concerned about towing people’s cars for money than they were getting rid of the snow so people can park.”
Becker signed a lease at The Avenue for the following year.
Brianna Greenblatt is a senior at the University of Maine living at The Reserve. “I’ve only lived at The Reserve this school year but I like it. They are pretty prompt at fixing issues when I put in maintenance requests. The biggest downside is the gate, it is so annoying and such an inconvenience and I wouldn’t feel any safer with or without the gate.”
The gate Greenblatt is referring to is at the entrance of The Reserve. The majority of the time, it is closed and residents can only get into the complex if they have their key. When residents want to have visitors, the visitor has to drive over to a call box and scroll down until they see the residents name they are visiting and wait for them to open the gate for them.
“They did offer an incentive for signing a lease when I signed. I got $800 in Visa gift cards and didn’t have to pay any signing fees which was awesome,” Greenblatt stated.
Kelsey Wodjo, a freshman at the University of Maine, currently lives on campus but is signing at Orchard Trails for next year. “I’m signing at Orchard Trails because it’s very cheap and my friend that I’m living with next year, her sister lives there and she likes it and we went to her apartment and liked it as well. The Reserve is annoying with the gate and it’s more expensive,” Wodjo said.
Gemma Smith, another freshman living on campus said, “I’m currently signed for The Avenue for next year. I heard The Reserve and Orchard Trails have had problems with mold so I went with The Avenue.”
The Reserve, Orchard Trails and The Avenue are the three most popular student off-campus living options for students at the university.