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Student Housing: Flight To Quality


Flight to quality may be an overused concept, but it's just the truth about student housing, newly married (above) Harrison Street SVP Brian Thompson tells us. We'll hear from Brian and other industry experts at Bisnow's Chicago Student Housing Summit on Dec. 19. He's seeing the firm's development partners target ultra-core, more vertical-type product that's been commanding the lowest cap rates and outperforming the rest of the market. These are the true walking-distance sites, within a quarter-mile concentric circle, he says. Harrison Street, the largest private owner of student housing in the country, targets public, four-year land-grant universities, and its 31,000-bed portfolio spans from New York to California.


The company just picked up The Pearl, the first of four properties to be acquired at the University of Oregon (above), and recently closed on a development deal with the Dinerstein Cos for a 695-bed project at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, which'll deliver in '15. Its key to scaling is the ability to operate out of two funds: an open-ended core fund for acquiring stable, income producing assets (eight this year) and a closed-end opportunistic fund (it's raised $2B in opportunistic capital) for development and value-add. Brian still sees tremendous momentum and financing available to build infill product, though sourcing and entitlements are taking longer. After the peak of student housing leasing season ends, Brian's looking forward to his Northern Italy honeymoon this spring.