Perception of Ferguson hurting student housing developments

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FERGUSON, MO (KPLR) – The fires are no longer burning in Ferguson, but many are still feeling the heat from the fear that spread like flames.

Mike Becker is the property manager for Suburban Heights Student Village. The college student housing development near Ferguson mostly serves UMSL students.

“We’ve spent the last year and a half educating the student body and trade schools here,” Mike Becker said.  “We were making them aware that we are here.”

Becker said students were consistently signing leases until the shooting death of Mike Brown on August 9th.

“I understand their concern, but people have to realize that this area has gone through a very hard time and government is working to make it better than it was,” Becker said.

Half of the 104 units at the development are empty. There were no incidents of violence at the property during the unrest. However, the perception of the area has hurt business, according to Becker.

While some people in the region continue to protest a justice system they say treats Black Americans unfairly, St. Louis County Police said they have not responded to an incident of violence related to a protest this month.

It’s a sign that things are going in the right direction, according to Becker.

It’s also something he hopes students and their parents pay attention to when looking for off campus housing.