Introducing a New Student Housing Company: Corvias Campus Living

by Katie Sloan

East Greenwich, R.I.  The newcomer will apply experience in military housing to developing on-campus at private colleges.

John Picerne comes from a family that has been in real estate since 1925. He founded Picerne Military Housing in 1998.East Greenwich, R.I. — A private company known for building, renovating, owning and managing military housing is entering the student housing sector.

Picerne Military Housing was one of four selected to pilot the privatization of military housing in 2001. Today, the company’s portfolio consists of 21,000 housing units at seven Army installations.

Picerne Military Housing has formed a parent company, Corvias Group, and a new student housing division, Corvias Campus Living. The new corporate structure will enable the company to continue its work in both housing sectors.

John Picerne, founder of Picerne Military Housing and CEO of Corvias Group, says he wants to seek partnerships on-campus at universities in the Northeast in second-tier cities.

“It appears to me that everyone who’s pushed from the apartment development business into the student housing business over the past 10 years has been focused on Mid-Atlantic states through the Sunbelt,” Picerne says. “There’s very little focus that’s been given to the Northeast corridor. We will seek mid-sized, private schools. A lot of focus has been on public universities giving out RFPs and not necessarily on private institutions.”

While Picerne hasn’t announced projects or acquisitions that will launch the company, he did say colleges are interested.

“Our pitch is gaining a tremendous amount of traction,” he says.

Corvias’ mission is to develop, renovate, own and manage the entire housing portfolio of a private institution. The company says the large size of some of its previous projects, such as its program in Fort Riley, Kan. — which is larger than the University of Kansas’ main campus in Lawrence — illustrates a proficiency to take on a large piece of student housing.

“I’ve yet to see any school that’s really taking the approach of trying to solve that entire program versus just a small piece of it,” Picerne says.

“We’re working through the same model we used with military housing, which is a partnership-relationship based model. Through long-term public-private partnerships and revitalization, we’ve literally reshaped both the quality of life and people’s expectations of what military housing can and should be across the country,” Picerne says. “We can do the same thing for student housing.”

— Randall Shearin and Lynn Peisner

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