Student Housing: American Campus Sees Growing Demand for PPPs

By Jennifer Duell Popovec for GlobeSt

AUSTIN, TX-Both large and small universities across the US are increasingly interested in establishing private-public partnerships to satisfy their demand for modern student housing, according to James Wilhelm III, executive vice president of public/private transactions for American Campus Communities Inc.

Wilhelm made the announcement during the student housing REIT’s third quarter earnings conference call. “We see an abundant pipeline of institutions expressing interest in utilizing public-private partnerships to deliver new, on-campus housing using both equity-based and project-based debt structures,” he said during the call.

Specifically, ACC has nailed down two new pre-development relationships – one with Princeton University and one with the University of Wyoming.

Princeton hired the student housing REIT to assist the university in assembling a project team, facilitating program and design activities, completing feasibility and financial analysis, and evaluating transaction structures, financing alternatives and delivery schedules. At the discretion of Princeton, ACC’s role may extend beyond pre-development capabilities, Wilhelm says.

In addition, ACC is negotiating the specifics of its pre-development agreement with the University of Wyoming. The institution has tapped the local company for pre-development services for its newest on-campus student housing project in Laramie, WY. Construction on the 350-bed, apartment-style project for undergraduate students is expected to commence in fall 2011 with delivery planned for 2012.

ACC’s development pipeline for both on-campus and off-campus projects is robust, according to President and CEO Bill Bayless. The REIT plans to fund a portion of its development pipeline through its capital recycling program.

In addition to smaller, one-off dispositions, ACC is selling off a seven-property portfolio, with plans to reinvest the disposition proceeds in both acquisition and development opportunities. The portfolio, which is currently being marketed by CBRE’s Student Housing Group, consists of 4,266 beds and 1,323 units in Arizona, Georgia and Texas.


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