REDDING, Calif. - The Americana Lodge on Market Street in downtown Redding may be re-purposed as a place for local college students to live.
The Lodge, which officially closed in January, currently has only one person living there, according to Denise Craig, co-owner of Boardmart, the business next-door to the Americana.
A Chico-based developer has expressed interest in converting the motel into a student housing complex for students at Bethel's School of Supernatural Ministry, Shasta College and Simpson University.
Craig said Boardmart has been next to the Americana for 22 years. In that time, she said she's seen the area evolve and attract more transient and homeless groups of people.
"'There's been some real questionable people over there over the years. It's kind of gotten worse and worse and worse so, but since it's been closed it's been really nice," she said.
She added that her customers have been afraid to come to the shop in the past due to the nearby population of transients. She hopes having more college students around will help take care of that problem.
"I think that the whole idea of doing the housing down here will definitely change the dynamics of downtown.All that going on down here is going to make everyone feel more comfortable about coming down here and enjoying it because it's super cool down here," she said.
Students at Simpson University had their individual opinions about the idea. Overall, they said it would be nice for students to have the opportunity to live downtown in an affordable and safe complex.
"I'd say about 60 percent of students move off campus their senior year," senior, Shawn Colacchia said. "Depending on what the price was, depending on what the facility was like I definitely would've utilized that option downtown."
Other students at Simpson felt additional off-campus housing isn't necessary right now. Director of Residence Life Mark Endraske said he agrees.
"There's not a super huge need for it because we're such a small body of students and we have so many open rooms on campus already," senior Brittany Mattingly. "I definitely think Shasta would benefit from that a lot more because their housing is so small."
Former Shasta College student, Nathan Williams, said he supports the new vision for the Americana and thinks other Shasta College students will, too.
"It's a good place to be and i think that'd be a perfect location once they fix it up," he said.
He added that students can run to Dutch Bros., Taco Bell and Starbucks, which are located on the other side of Market Street, after a late-night study session. Easy transportation also makes it an ideal location according to Williams.
"It's close to the terminal and the terminal has bus passes that Shasta College gives out, so they can ride the bus for free to get to and from school," he said. In addition, students at Shasta College's Downtown Redding Campus Health and Sciences & University Center can easily walk to school from the Americana.
Some students at Simpson were more concerned about potential transportation issues.
"Some people don't have cars so i feel like it would be hard if there wasn't like a bussing system or something to help people get around," freshman Alex Cooper said.
More than accessibility, Simpson students would like the new complex to look like a typical apartment building.
"The more apartment style, the more it'll appeal to Simpson students because of the suite-style nature of the dorms here on campus."
We reached out to the developer who proposed the new vision for the Americana Lodge and are waiting for more details.