American Campus Communities Sells 901-Bed Community for $148 Million, Provides COVID-19 Update

by Katie Sloan

Austin, Texas— American Campus Communities (ACC) has sold The Varsity, a 901-bed student housing community located near the University of Maryland in College Park, to an undisclosed buyer for $148 million. The company also released a COVID-19 statement, outlining efforts to support its residents and employees impacted by the pandemic. At this time, ACC is:

  • Waiving all late fees and financial-related eviction proceedings temporarily and working with residents and families who endure financial hardship on a case-by-case basis;
  • Ensuring residents continue to have housing in an environment conducive to academic success, despite universities switching to online courses;
  • Adopting relevant guidelines regarding social distancing issued by the CDC and communicating all guidelines to residents;
  • Following CDC guidelines for daily cleaning and disinfecting, including hand-washing hygiene, cleaning product specifications and open area cleaning procedures;
  • Limiting employee hours on-site, but not reducing compensation, and limiting in-person contact while continuing essential activities such as emergency work orders and life/safety maintenance;
  •  And providing employees with extended emergency leave.

The company also provided a pre-leasing update for the 2020-2021 academic year. As of March 24, the company’s same-store, wholly-owned portfolio was 72.5 percent pre-leased compared to 69.2 percent pre-leased on the same date last year.

“While it is not our policy to provide interim pre-leasing updates, with the current circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we felt it was important to provide an update at this time,” says Jennifer Beese, COO of American Campus Communities. “Our leasing velocity has been very strong this year. As of March 24, our same store pre-leasing is approximately 3,200 beds ahead of the prior year’s velocity. With many universities extending their spring break an additional week and state and local municipalities issuing shelter in place orders, we have seen a slow-down in physical traffic, and while we continue to conduct leasing through virtual channels, we expect slower leasing velocity until shelter in place orders are lifted. With regard to the current spring semester, we are attempting to accommodate students who have been displaced due to on-campus residence hall closures where we have available space.”

ACC is also continuing construction on its development pipeline, which includes $279.7 million worth of deliveries in May through August of this year. At present, these projects remain on-time and on-budget and the company has not experienced supply chain disruption or labor shortages that would impact delivery. 

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