Loyola Flats Finishes Rebuilding and Improving After Water Damage

The Flats at Loyola Station finish updates after a burst pipe became an opportunity to improve.

Loyola’s student run hotel service, The Flats at Loyola Station, has almost finished reconstruction after a pipe burst in February of last year.

First opened in 2010, The Flats is a university owned and undergraduate student-operated guesthouse located at 1216 W. Arthur Ave. behind the CTA Red Line Loyola Station. There are a total of 10 units with various amenities including stocked kitchens with food and kitchenware, laundry appliances and free parking, according to The Flats website.

After a guest left a window open and the heating off in February 2022, the indoor temperature of Unit 202 dropped to 34 F and a pipe burst, according to Loyola senior Kamdyn Rhodes, president of The Flats. Following the subsequent flooding, The Flats suffered cancellations and were immediately unavailable for the next three months as the reconstruction process began.

Some of the new additions included new upgraded smart TVs in every unit, with guest access to streaming services. Other amenities that have been added include new furniture, a conference room and a hospitality room or common area with food and a coffee bar.

The Flats are a part of Loyola Limited, Loyola’s largest undergraduate student-run business organization. When redesigning the flooded units, creative control fell to the team of 10 students who work at The Flats, according to Rhodes.

“For instance, this room specifically, I chose the backsplash for the kitchen, I chose the wall colors,” Rhodes said. “I got to personally pick out all the furniture pieces, which was nice, because it’s a big budget too. So I kind of got to live out my designer dreams while doing it.”

Loyola Limited and The Flats are owned by Loyola University Chicago and part of the Quinlan School of Business’s Loyola Business Leadership Hub, according to the Hub’s website. Loyola Limited and all of its components are funded by the university and The Flats are given a monthly insurance budget which The Flats employees decide how to utilize, Rhodes told The Phoenix.

“The Flats and overall Loyola Limited is kind of separated from the bigger Loyola community,” Rhodes said. “Because of the flood, and because of the liability within the flood, Loyola took interest in and we have a lot more support now from the university.”

Since the flooded unit was on the second floor, five other units were also damaged after water dripped down onto the first floor and then needed to be completely torn out and rebuilt, according to Rhodes.

“Because they were completely gutted, we got to do repainting and remodeling, which was a pro of the whole thing,” Rhodes said. “Some of the rooms needed to be updated anyway, so it was a good opportunity for us to freshen up paint and buy some new furniture and do some much-needed repairs to things.”

Rhodes hopes with these new additions, The Flats will be more capable of contending with similar businesses, such as the nearby Hampton Inn, which she identifies as The Flats main competition because of its proximity to campus and name-brand recognition.

Rhodes said she is especially excited about the hospitality room because The Flats is now able to offer some of the same amenities as the Hampton and the greater hospitality industry.

“I’m excited for our staff to have a place, like a central place, to work out of and to have more access to our guests,” Rhodes said. “But also for our guests to have more of a community when they stay here.”

Danielle Omer, a guest service associate at The Flats and first year student, is also particularly happy with the creation of the new hospitality room.

“This space will offer an employee work desk area, a conference room for team meetings, and a gathering area for guests to socialize and eat breakfast together,” Omer said to The Phoenix via email. “We have been working as a team to design a space that everyone feels comfortable working in and is inviting to our guests.”

Omer said she enjoys her time working at The Flats and would recommend it to any student interested in business management or operations.

“The team is friendly and accommodating to my needs as a student,” Omer said. “It has been the best way to get hands-on-experience of operating a real business.”

Despite the recent construction, The Flats are currently enjoying an unprecedented boom for the winter season. During the off-season of January and February, The Flats typically generate around $5,000, however this year the business has already brought in over $24,000, according to Rhodes.

“I started working here in 2020, so it’s like peak COVID time, so we really didn’t have any guests,” Rhodes said. “But we have done a lot of marketing campaigns, we’ve targeted a lot of the parents on Facebook pages and stuff like that. We were also working on our internal relations to different internal departments at Loyola.”

Looking beyond the renovations, Rhodes is optimistic about the future of The Flats.

“You come to Chicago and The Flats is a name that you know,” Rhodes said. “We just want to keep expanding how we serve the Loyola community.”

Hunter Minné

Hunter Minné