Duke acquires Blue Light Living apartment complex

Duke acquired The Blue Light Living, an apartment complex located near 300 Swift and popular among many undergraduate and graduate students who live off campus.

Residents of Blue Light learned about the change in ownership on Jan. 11 via a text message.

“We are thrilled about the acquisition of the Blue Light apartments, which aligns with our ongoing efforts to expand and enhance housing options for both our graduate and undergraduate communities at Duke,” wrote Mary Pat McMahon, vice provost and vice president for student affairs, in an email to The Chronicle.

Duke Parking and Transportation will now provide service to connect Blue Light with the rest of campus. With the acquisition, the Swift bus route now stops at the Blue Light apartments, and residents have access to Blue Light’s parking, according to the text announcement. 

Plans to acquire Blue Light were first initiated in the summer of 2023, when “Duke Student Affairs and Duke Real Estate were first made aware of the opportunity to work with Blue Light’s management,” according to McMahon.

Rebecca Li, Trinity ‘23 and a current research assistant who learned about the acquisition through the text messages, said that the acquisition came as a surprise.

Her roommate, senior Aimi Wen, said that “any increase in housing is helpful in any way,” though she is concerned about potential equity issues if the costs of living in Blue Light are raised due to the number of existing amenities in the apartments. 

“The complex presented an excellent opportunity to invest in student housing, adding bed capacity in response to the growing demand for on-campus living. The property’s construction quality, amenities, and proximity to campus made it an excellent addition to the University portfolio,” McMahon wrote.

Both Li and Wen believe that the impact of purchasing Blue Light has a negligible impact on Duke housing’s longer-term goal of increasing campus community, given that the upperclassmen moving into the dorms would already have their own communities before moving in.

Duke previously housed students in the Blue Light Apartments in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. 

“Duke Real Estate will work with the existing property management team to oversee the building while University offices plan the future transition to student housing,” McMahon wrote. Current Blue Light residents will continue living in the apartments for the remainder of their existing leases. 

“Overall, it's a pro that Duke bought Blue Light, because it allows more people to live here, because living space and conditions are pretty good — not saying that the dorms are bad, but they’re even better in Blue Light,” Li said.

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Adway S. Wadekar | News Editor

Adway S. Wadekar is a Trinity junior and former news editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

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Audrey Wang is a Trinity senior and data editor of The Chronicle's 120th volume. She was previously editor-in-chief for Volume 119.


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