Less than a month before numerous Creighton students were scheduled to move into a brand new apartment complex for the school year, they received a significant email from Muse Omaha.
Finding their own temporary housing and a $1,000 gift card or paying the agreed-upon rent and living in a hotel were the two choices left to the residents, accompanied by the brief explanation of an “unexpected delay in construction.”
Initially, the move-in date was “sometime after Sept. 1,” and later, an uncertain date of Sept. 20.
Currently, Grace Schander, a senior nursing student, is living in a friend’s dining room in Gifford Park with her bed on the floor, without a door or closet.
“I decided not to live in the hotel that Muse suggested,” Schander said. “I work 12-hour clinical shifts and it would be very difficult for me to live in a hotel without a kitchen and the ability to meal prep for myself. Taking finances and functionality into account, I decided that this is my best option.”
Schander expressed frustration in not only the situation itself, but the communication that followed with Muse in regards to the reason behind it.
“They have made many promises to us, then changed their story shortly after,” she said, explaining an instance in which an employee told her she and her roommate could move in on Sept. 6, only to be notified the next day that the date had been pushed back to Sept. 20.
“The Muse also let us know that construction would not be finished and the building’s amenities would not be ready for move-in on Sept. 20, but they are not offering discounted rent to make up for the inconvenience of construction in our building,” Schander said. “I wish that the Muse had been more transparent with their construction plans and how that would affect my current and future living situations.”
Patricia Heiman, College of Arts and Sciences junior, experienced similar confusion, only she was promised an early move-in date of Aug. 12, along with one of her friends living at Muse. They were told all they needed to do was send in a form confirming it.
Heiman waited a few days for Muse to send her the form to confirm said move-in, only to not receive it. She called again, and Muse told her she didn’t need to worry about a form and they would be contacting her later on with additional information.
Just two hours later, Heiman received the email pushing the move-in date back to Sept. 1.
“It took me a few minutes to digest the fact that this email was not a joke and they weren’t pranking us,” she said. “When I finally comprehended it all, I wasn’t mad … just disappointed.”
Heiman took the option of staying in The Hampton Inn & Suites, describing her stay as being “holed up.”
“It is extremely isolating there,” she said. “At the end of the day I just feel like I have no one to hang out with.”
Located in downtown Omaha on 1005 N 20th St., Muse directly marketed itself to Creighton students, boasting 9-foot high ceilings, “loft-like oversized windows” and “contemporary finishes” in their one, two or four-bedroom studio apartments, fully furnished.
Both Schander and Heiman referenced the furniture as one of the reasons they chose Muse to avoid the hassle of moving furniture for just a year or two.
“They have told so many people so many different reasons that I don’t think they even know the reason for the delay,” Heiman continued. “My roommate had to have her mother call them so they would actually take us seriously and they told her that they were 98 percent sure that we would be moving in by the 20th. I just hope they aren’t lying about it this time, but I’m not getting any hopes up.”
She added that she wished Muse would have been more “open and honest with us about the whole situation.”
The emails sent to the residents reiterated their apologies.
In the first email delaying the date to Sept. 1 and providing the two options, they wrote, “We know this is an inconvenience for you and want to make this process as comfortable as possible. We will do our best to keep you informed on the status of move-in as well as answer any questions you may have and, if for some reason we don’t have the answer, we will get it as quickly as possible.”
In the second email pushing the date to Sept. 20, Muse wrote, “While we are confident it will not take this long to receive all the necessary inspections, we want to allow enough time to complete them. Please be assured that if we receive the final inspections prior to the 20th we will notify you immediately.”
When contacted for additional information, William Berg, the Muse property manager, repeated, "Construction delays beyond the owner’s control have created the delayed move-in date."
"We apologize for any confusion that may be occurring," Berg continued. "We have consolidated communication to official notifications that we send via email when we have more information about the project. If there is any confusion, [residents] should refer to the most recent notification that has been emailed to them, as this is the most accurate information."
He attributed the short notice to construction timelines that "change quickly and often due to the complexity of a project this large."
"This is an unfortunate situation, and we are doing all we can to remedy it as quickly as possible," Berg said. "The owners offered to pay the contractor to accelerate the completion to ensure a timely move in but that was unsuccessful."
Regarding Sept. 20, the property manager said he anticipates residents will be able to move in.
"While we are confident it will not take this long to receive all the necessary inspections, we want to allow enough time to complete them," he said. "Please be assured that if we receive the final inspections prior to the 20th we will notify residents immediately."