Campus Evolution Villages Enters Student Sector

by Katie Sloan

New York — The company seeks a college living experience “customers haven’t seen yet.”

Campus Evolution Villages acquired this 360-bed community in Warrensburg, Mo., as part of the four-property Campus Core portfolio sold by Gulfstream Capital Partners.New York — Evan Denner and Andrew Stark, founders of Lauderhill Partners, a private merchant banking investment firm, have launched Campus Evolution Villages, a student housing company that will own and manage assets across the United States. The executives, who both have previous experience in the early days of the student housing sector, say they are pursuing a branded product focused on customer satisfaction.

Denner and Stark have formed two LLCs — Campus Evolution Villages and Campus Evolution. They also have acquired United Campus Housing Management Group (UCHMG).

Mark Harries, former CEO of UCHMG, now serves as the chairman of Campus Evolution Villages; Denner as the chief investment officer, and Stark serves as the CEO, saying he will play an active, day-to-day role with the real estate and management teams.

The holding company is making a rapid transition into student housing with the acquisition of 2,686 beds in a four-week period, bringing the total number of beds under management to more than 7,600.

The executives have been building their management team over the past six months. But their interest in purpose-built student housing goes back several years, to the early growth of American Campus Communities, where Stark and Harries met. Additionally, Harries was a principal and co-founder of Asset Campus Housing.

“I have spent time in the sector but have also invested in other real estate related entities,” Stark In Morgantown, W.Va., The District, with 924 beds, is one of two acquisitions for the new student housing company.says. “I kept coming back to student housing and seeing that it was highly fragmented. It still is — it’s a sector that’s in its infancy. It’s been around since the late ’80s to mid-90s, but it’s still highly fragmented with not a lot of focus on brand recognition or on delivering the best as far as customer experience. We came back and saw an opportunity to deliver something to customers that we haven’t yet seen.”

Campus Evolution Villages has completed two acquisitions. The first was the four-property Campus Core portfolio that was announced in December. The properties, which all were built in 2008, are in Warrensburg, Mo., Ruston, La., Spartanburg, S.C., and Murray, Ky.

The Campus Core assets were acquired from Gulfstream Capital Partners for $46.5 million. Gulfstream was represented in the transaction by Peter Katz of Institutional Property Advisors.

Simultaneous with this closing, Barry Reichmann and associates of Reichmann International Development Corporation, a Toronto, Canada-based firm, made a significant equity investment with Campus Evolution Villages. The Reichmanns, a Toronto-based family with investments in various real estate companies and assets, is well known for controlling the Olympia & York real estate organization and the development of Canary Wharf during the 1980s and 1990s. Barry Reichmann’s Senior Care Holdings Inc., through Elmcroft Senior Living, owns, leases and manages more than 100 senior housing facilities throughout the United States.

The second acquisition, announced today, is The District in Morgantown, W.Va., a 924-bed property built in 2005 that Campus Evolution Villages says will receive a multi-million-dollar renovation. The acquisition was completed with partner Barry Reichmann. Katz represented the seller, EA Morgantown, in this transaction as well.

— Lynn Peisner

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