InterFace On-Campus 2013 Brings Universities and Private Sector Together

by Katie Sloan

Orlando, Fla. — University of Georgia presents a live RFP at inaugural on-campus housing event.

Susan RidleyOrlando, Fla. — The InterFace Conference Group and Student Housing Business‘ inaugural On-Campus Housing conference was held at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort in Orlando Nov. 13-15. The event brought housing officials and university business decision-makers together with leaders at many of the industry’s most respected student housing and multifamily financial/investment firms. More than 250 industry professionals attended the event.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of a live RFP and RFQ from the University System of Georgia. The conference room was filled with would-be partners from the private sector listening as Susan Ridley, associate vice chancellor for fiscal affairs for the University System of Georgia, along with Shan Gastineau, managing director with Jones Lang LaSalle and Patrick Russell, managing director with Wells Fargo’s education and non profit group, presented the university’s plan to partner with a private developer on a system-wide initiative that would involve building 2,300 new beds and acquiring 6,195 existing beds at UGA’s 31 campuses throughout Georgia. The chosen partner would own and operate these beds.

The number-one objective of this partnership, Ridley said, would be to develop aPanelists from the private
sector, from left: Dan
Ron LaPorte, Jeff Jones, Bob
Shepko, Tom Trubiana and
Jamie Wilhelm.

long-term relationship with a developer. Russell added that UGA wishes to work with one investor and to interact with only one party throughout the transaction. Russell said the investor would enjoy a secure and growing cash flow through the hold period with buildings boasting traditionally high occupancy levels at upwards of 98 percent and a projected 2016 annual revenue of approximately $55 million.

The university would retain control of residence life, security and rent collection. Rents at UGA’s campuses are collected in advance each semester. Phase one would include eight campuses, including Georgia State University, the University of North Georgia and Armstrong Atlantic University. Construction is expected to begin in 2014. The RFP and RFQ will be issued by Dec. 5, with responses expected in return by Jan. 15, at which time a handful of firms would be short-listed. The university is looking for a long-term partner with a large balance sheet and a proven track record of holding assets for a long period of time, Gastineau said, adding that while UGA is interesting in seeing creative solutions in the underwriting, it does not want to unbutton or cherry-pick the portfolio. The university would be open to considering a 50- to 60-year ground lease, he said.

Mike Harnett presents Campus
Crest’s project EVO
at Philadelphia.
InterFace On-Campus featured many additional sessions, mostly concerning the financial and operational requirements necessary to make partnerships between universities and private real estate groups strong and successful, with each side weighing in about lessons learned from past and present projects at campuses around the country. A lightning round gave the floor to leaders at several firms, including Campus Crest Communities, EdR, Capstone Development Partners and American Campus Communities, who described their latest projects in less than four minutes.

The conference concluded with a tour of three on-campus projects at theUCF campus tour. University of Central Florida: Neptune, NorthView and The Towers @ Knights Plaza. The tour and luncheon of these new and modern projects were sponsored by The Scion Group and Finfrock.

InterFace On-Campus also included an exhibit hall showcasing a wide range of goods and services that support student housing and two cocktail networking events, which were sponsored by Raymond James and Campus Crest Communities. To order an audio recording of the conference’s sessions, email Alicia Lewis.

— Lynn Peisner

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