NC A&T to Buy Part of Campus Evolution Villages

Facing a shortage of beds for its growing student population, North Carolina A&T University is planning to buy a portion of Campus Evolution Villages. Here are some details from a Greensboro News & Record article about the deal:

Specifically, A&T expects to purchase nine three-story buildings that can house 360 students. The university has leased these apartments for each of the past two years — and was planning to do so again this fall — because of a shortage of campus housing.

A&T officials declined to disclose a purchase price because the deal is still being negotiated and isn’t expected to close until June…

Like several of A&T’s newer residence halls, the apartment buildings will be owned by the N.C. A&T Real Estate Foundation. One of the roles of the foundation, A&T’s nonprofit charitable arm, is to buy and develop property for the university. The new apartments will be leased to students through the university’s housing office.

Campus Crossing Bought by New York Firm

Campus Crossing Apartments, a 297-unit student community near UNC Greensboro, was purchased by Vesper Holdings LLC for $36.5 million and is being rebranded as Sherwood Forest Apartments. Details from an article in the Triad Business Journal:

According to Vesper, it will make a complete renovation/rebranding of Sherwood Forest with $1.8 million in capital expenditures, including renovation of the units and amenities, as well as extensive enhancements to the property’s exteriors and substantial technology upgrades throughout the complex.

Vesper said it ranks as one of the top 10 student housing owners in the country with a portfolio worth more than $1 billion. Vesper subsidiary Campus Life & Style manages its properties…

The signage on the exterior of the buildings has yet to be changed.

Burkely Buys Greensboro Student Properties

PTAA member Burkely Communities has continued to expand its student housing portfolio with the purchase of four properties in Greensboro. From a Triad Business Journal article:

Burkely’s Spartan Student Apartments LLC purchased Chancellor Park Apartments, Sterling Park Apartments, Spartan Crossing Apartments and Spartan Square Apartments.

Burkely paid $9.86 million for 24-unit Chancellor Park and 36-unit Sterling Park; $5.1 million for 40 units at Spartan Crossing; and $1.175 million for 12-unit Spartan Square.

Burkely bought Chancellor Park and Sterling Park from GBORO AG UNCG LLC, an entity of United Student Housing of New York City. Burkely bought the Spartan Crossing units from Greensboro’s Granwood Properties LLC and acquired Spartan Square from a separate LLC made up of Granwood members.

Snapchat for Marketing Student Housing

For those of us of a certain age the whole Snapchat thing is a bit confusing. We try it and…we don’t get it. On the other hand there are lots of people, usually younger than yours truly, who DO get Snapchat and property managers, especially in the student housing space, are taking notice.

The most recent issue of Units Magazine has an article about marketers using Snapchat. Here’s an excerpt:

Rob Dinwiddie, Landmark Properties, and Barrie Nichols, University Student Living are effectively driving their brands and select community messages through timely images on Snapchat based on paid geo-targeting filters being deployed during key campus dates such as move-ins and social events.

“We created Snapchat filters with custom graphics for each of our communities,” Nichols says. “Coupled with geo-targeting that is based on popular events such as housing fairs, orientations and libraries during exam finals weeks, the results were phenomenal. Popular among students and cost effective, this form of digital marketing proved to be extremely successful. We will continue to build brand awareness and provide interaction opportunities with our target market during key times and events.”

Nichols says these also were used to launch new developments through table tents on campus, local businesses and at events.

“The evolution of this platform has been incredible,” she says. “When we started using Snapchat to communicate with students three years ago, companies were hesitant to see this as an engagement source. Now, there are more people who added us to their Snapchat accounts during targeted events than any other form of social media.”

You really should read the full article as it’s full of great info about the use of Snapchat and other evolving technologies in the student housing sector.

The School at Spring Garden Changing With the Times

PTAA board member Amanda Williams was recently interviewed about her company’s planned upgrades for its The School at Spring Garden property. From the article:

BSC Holdings has operated The School at Spring Garden since 1995, when college students typically wanted apartments with four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Students now want private space in smaller apartments, often a one-bedroom, one-bath place or at most, two bedrooms with two bathrooms, said Amanda Williams, vice president of BSC Holdings.

So the company will soon begin gutting original four-bedroom units and reconfiguring the apartments in the historic Pomona High School so it can keep attracting students from UNC-Greensboro…

The plan is to break up 59 apartments and increase the number to 80 smaller units when the process is complete over several years.

The proposed project requires a rezoning so BSC Holdings is currently working with the city planning department and meeting with the Lindley Park Neighborhood Association to make sure they support the rezoning when it goes before the zoning commission and city council.

Student Housing Providers Adding Corporate Sponsored Perks

As the father of three (three!) college kids I can vouch for the fact that their housing is far different – as in superior – than anything we had back in the dark days of the ’80s. According to this article in the Wall Street Journal their amenities are only getting better:

Big student-housing landlords are joining forces with corporate marketers to ramp up the services they provide to the nation’s 20 million college students.

Many students arriving at their new student apartments this fall are being greeted by corporate promotions ranging from concert invitations to discounts on Uber rides.

The deals typically are structured with little money exchanged between the landlords and companies, although in some cases the landlords pay for the products or services…

Students planning to live this fall at 4th Street Commons, off-campus housing near Florida International University in Miami, got emails with $20 discount codes for Uber Technologies Inc. They also will be able to ride a bike free for up to two hours using the Zagster bike-sharing service, and go to free concerts through a partnership with Interscope Records.

All of this comes at very little cost to the landlord, Florida-based Kayne Anderson Real Estate Advisors, which owns 20,000 student-housing beds around the country.

Of course not all student housing providers are into having these types of partnerships, partly because they aren’t confident they know what will resonate with the students:

While landlords have been under increasing pressure to attract tenants as supply swells, some said they are skeptical of corporate partnerships. That is partly because middle-aged real-estate company executives have little sense of the products a 20-year-old student might consider cool.

I totally get that. I’d wonder why they weren’t excited by a $10 gift card from Cracker Barrel.

How to Survive Turn Season (Hint: A Happy Parent Is a Happy Life)

It’s turn season in student housing and NAA’s just in time with a nice “how-to” for surviving it. Here’s a taste:

1. Turn Season.

You can’t have a student housing move-in without the hectic season of turn first! Prepare, prepare, prepare and do your best to make it fun so your team can thrive during these crucial weeks before residents move in.

Isn’t this getting little-to-no sleep thing fun?!

2. Move-In Logistics.

Since move-in day is often one big day for student housing, everything must be just right to keep the check-in process smooth and organized. Create a game plan and lay out your logistics well in advance to ensure the day goes smoothly for everyone involved.

Because a happy parent is a happy life.

Take from a parent of three(!) college kids, that last sentence is spot on.

– See more at: http://www.naahq.org/read/aptly-spoken-blog/down-and-dirty-turn-season#sthash.KZy9CvUJ.dpuf

Student Housing Providers Look Into Mixed-Use Developments

The Wall Street Journal looks at how student housing developers are adding retail, restaurants and hotels into the mix:

Now some developers are transforming student housing yet again, this time adding restaurants, shops and hotels.

The changes reflect a desire among students for services close at hand. “In addition to wanting to live close to campus, students also increasingly seek convenient access to restaurants, coffee shops and other retail stores,” said Brian Veith, assistant director of student housing for the National Multifamily Housing Council in Washington. “Developers are responding to student demand.”…

“Given the right fundamentals and consideration to the creditworthiness of the retail/commercial component, these assets will attract significant buyers that will likely pay a premium for the asset,” said Dorothy Jackman, managing director of the National Student Housing Group at Colliers International.

Sterling Frisco, for example, sold for $223,744 per unit. That is a considerable premium above the average price of $144,160 per unit reported by Real Capital Analytics for student-housing properties sold for $2.5 million or more in the U.S. during 2014…

Judd Bobilin, president and chief executive officer of Atlanta-based development-and-management firm Chance Partners LLC, said that student-housing developers in the past “didn’t want anything to do with retail” because they didn’t want to mix asset classes, which can make projects harder to finance. But now he is seeing mixed-use in about 20% to 25% of the assets being developed.

 

Burkely Communities Sells Highland Crossing

The Winston-Salem Journal carried the story of Burkely Communities sold its Highland Crossing student community (Boone) to North State Capital Partners of Charlotte:

Highland Crossing opened in 2013 and consists of 204 beds. It offers a study lounge and fitness center, as well as outdoor amenities that include a pavilion with an outdoor fireplace, grills and sundeck, mountain bike rentals, a nature trail and a hammock garden.

New Management Rights the Ship at Greensboro Student Property

PTAA member Burkely Communities received some positive press for the work it’s doing at The District:

A private student housing complex serving UNC-Greensboro, Greensboro College and other area schools that was cited for more than 100 code violations at the end of last year has been cleaned up under its new management team, Burkely Communities, according to company and city officials…

Burkely CEO Sterling Kelly said the building owners had already made a significant investment in repairs prior to his company’s involvement, including an overhaul of the heating and air conditioning system. But a long list of deferred maintenance items had grown overwhelming, so his team has been tackling it systematically during the past several months.

“The work required to fix those items just hadn’t been getting done, though they were relatively inexpensive things like electrical receptacles pulled out of the wall or plumbing leaks or exit doors not closing so the building wasn’t secure,” Kelly said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day and there are still some more things the owner may choose to do, but the first order of business has been doing what was necessary to make the building what I would consider habitable.”

Kelly goes on to say that their work at The District is far from done and they’re concentrating on marketing the property in a similar fashion to their other student properties – moving away from promoting amenities like pools and game rooms and focusing instead on promoting an environment geared towards the more serious students. (You can read more about Burkely’s approach here.)