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My Story: Ted Rollins


Campus Crest co-founder Ted Rollins grew up always wanting to build tall towers. (You couldn't get this guy enough Lincoln Logs.) But he had a another stop to make on the way--touring musician.


When Ted was 13, he hit the road, singing and playing backup for his godfather. You may have heard of him—here's Ted with Johnny Cash in 1978. Ted toured with him for eight years, singing and playing various instruments (including piano, guitar, and mandolin). He still plays in Nashville occasionally, and he and Barclays Bank managing director Scott Schaevitz have a band called The Shaves in NYC. When his touring days were through, Ted joined Drexel Burnham as an investment banker. A real estate client suggested he switch to the dark side, and since 1985 he's focused on developing various forms of housing.


Ted started by developing Residence Inns (he says they were basically apartments in their construction and design), moved to seniors housing, and got into student housing in the last decade. In 2004, he co-founded the Charlotte-based Campus Crest with Mike Hartnett (above, Mike's far left and Ted's far right) to be a fully integrated company that could handle development, leasing, and property management. (They must have extensive conversation on what materials don't retain pizza sauce stains.) Ted tells us his favorite part of the business is impacting tomorrow's leaders by providing a community, not just a place to live. He's big into outreach (through Campus Crest's SCORES program) and teaching life skills.


Campus Crest now has 87 properties totaling 46,000 beds in 63 markets. When it acquired Copper Beech this February (above, Ted's with its founder Dr. Jack McWhirter and the Penn State Nittany Lion), it became the second-largest public student housing platform in the US by beds. Ted tells us it has 80 markets in its active development pipeline (it already has sites selected in 30) and will build six to 10 new projects a year. And Ted did fulfill his dream of building a skyscraper: in Philadelphia, Campus Crest and Brandywine developed the country's tallest student housing building (33 stories) on the U Penn campus.