The Scion Group, GIC, CPPIB Acquire 11-Property Student Housing Portfolio for $640 Million

by Katie Sloan

Chicago — In its fourth transaction in the past year, Chicago-based The Scion Group — with sovereign wealth fund partners GIC and Canada Public Pension Investment Board (CPPIB) — closed a transaction in mid-March for 11 student housing properties for $640 million.

The joint venture has collectively acquired three portfolios recently for $1.6 billion, including a recapitalization of 12 properties Scion owned and six Class A properties formerly owned by a Southeastern development company.

In the 11-property, $640 million transaction that closed March 15, nine of the properties were controlled by Harrison Street Real Estate in partnerships with Trinitas, Opus, CA Ventures and Vertex. In addition, Scion, GIC and CPPIB acquired another asset from Trinitas and another property in Chicago from another entity. The properties in the 11-property transaction total more than 6,300 beds, and include:

  • University Trails Tallahassee, a 936-bed community located near Florida State University
  • Alpha, a 698-bed community located near the University of Alabama
  • VAMP, a 668-bed community located near the University of Indiana
  • The Foundation, a 725-bed community located near CSU Sacramento
  • NXNW, a 648-bed community located near Western Washington University
  • Varsity Quarters, a 162-bed community located near the University of Wisconsin
  • Uncommon Madison, a 408-bed community located near the University of Wisconsin
  • Uncommon Tampa, a 516-bed community located near the University of South Florida
  • Uncommon Charlottesville, a 342-bed community located near the University of Virginia
  • LUX at Central Park, a 608-bed community located near the University of North Carolina
  • 1237 West Fullerton, a 592-bed community located near DePaul University

Previously, the joint venture closed a $385 million transaction of student housing properties developed by an Athens, Georgia-based development company located primarily in the Southern U.S. The venture also closed on $550 million in recapitalizations of 12 legacy Scion-owned and operated communities in various university markets.

Brendan Coleman and Will Baker of Walker & Dunlop originated financing through Fannie Mae credit facilities for both the 11-property acquisition and the six-property acquisition. 

Since its inception in January 2016, the Scion-CPPIB-GIC joint venture has completed $2.9 billion of investments, including the previously $1.3 billion acquisition of the 19-property portfolio of University House Communities in mid-2016.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with two of the world’s premier real estate investors in the ongoing consolidation of the student housing sector,” says Robert Bronstein, president of Scion. “We especially appreciate the confidence and support of GIC and CPPIB implicit in the volume of investment activity completed by the joint venture during its first year of operation, as well as the significant commitment of additional growth capital to the partnership. We look forward to the joint venture’s continued growth and success.” 

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