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Student Housing Is More Than Just Rockin' Digs


While the student housing amenity arms race continues apace, there's more strategy than meets the eye for some firms. Core Spaces managing director Marc Lifshin says the focus for his company is appealing to each individual market rather than creating cookie-cutter communities. There’s much less check-the-box, Marc says, and much more customization.

Even in the era of on-site resort-style pools with deck-side cabanas, jacuzzis on balconies (like the one in a Core Spaces development, pictured below), around-the-clock staff and tanning salons, Millennials don’t want to pay for things they won’t use. Marc says two of the most valuable things to students these days are WiFi everywhere and excellent fitness centers.

Marc tells us the company is generally trying to avoid over-amenitizing its properties or installing a feature just to have it. That said, some markets demand every single amenity. Core Spaces has several developments that look like super-luxe hotels. In Madison, WI, one of the developments boasts an entertainment mezzanine, a volleyball court and an ice skating rink.   


It’s a result of market forces, Marc says. The ice skating rink probably wouldn’t go over as well in Florida. It's about getting the right amenities in the right market while appealing to the price point of most students. The company has properties under development in Madison, Tuscon, Portland, Ann Arbor, Flagstaff and Seattle.

Marc hasn’t seen any kind of slowdown in the growth of student housing. Lured by strong growth and high occupancies, investors poured $4.5B into the sector last year, signaling a growing interest in what used to be known as a niche investment.  

Join Marc and other industry professionals on June 14 in Philadelphia for Bisnow's annual Student Housing forum to learn about the latest trends in student housing, find out who is developing what, and what's next for the industry. Buy your tickets here.