Close Up With William Talbot
American Campus Communities CIO William Talbot (an esteemed panelist at our Texas Student Housing Summit) has been involved in more than 130 property acquisitions totaling over $4B in the last 13 years at ACC, including the three largest transactions ever done in the sector. Not bad for a man who just stumbled upon the student housing industry. William started his real estate career handling acquisitions with Lend Lease in 1997, and it gave him a taste of the full gamut of real estate—except student housing. In 2001, he and his future wife wanted to move to Austin, but there were very few real estate jobs available. He found ACC from a blind ad on Monster.com and gave it a go, despite knowing almost nothing about student housing.
William tells us ACC has been “building for the masses, not the classes” by building on campus or within 10 minutes’ walk to campus, max, but still with a value proposition. Take Texas A&M’s UCentre at Northgate (pictured), one of the $232M of developments ACC delivered for Fall 2014. It’s a $100 to $225 discount to adjacent new properties, which gives it lots of room to grow rents in future leasing cycles. William’s also particularly proud of Callaway House at UT Austin, a unique 753-bed property that includes residence hall-style units with food service that compete directly with campus dorms. Despite being newer and more highly amenitized than the on-campus product, ACC was able to deliver it at a discount and has seen significant demand.
Pictured: Pros from ACC (can you spot William?) at its original IPO opening bell ringing ceremony (August 2004) and closing bell ceremony celebrating its tenth anniversary as a public company (this month). William tells us ACC owns 29 properties (topping 17,500 beds) in nine Texas collegiate markets, and would like to grow within those areas. Outside of work, he mostly has been spending time with his eight-year-old and five-year-old kids. He likes to golf (but is terrible at it) and wants to collect vinyl records, but hasn’t found time to buy a turntable yet.