Universities, Student Housing Properties Face Hurricane Harvey

by Katie Sloan

Houston and College Station, Texas — Hurricane Harvey has brought massive amounts of rain, flooding and destruction to southern Texas, but reports show that on- and off-campus student housing properties have largely escaped the worst of the damage.

The Texas Tribune reports that colleges in Houston have cancelled class and evacuated some student housing as the rain continues to fall and floodwaters continue to rise. About three buildings on the University of Houston campus have taken on water, and 140 students were evacuated from Bayou Oaks, a university-owned, off campus apartment complex for older and international students.

Most universities in Houston — such as Rice University and Victoria College — reported minor damage including leaks and power outages. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi also reported minor structural damage to The Texas Tribune. The first day of classes has been pushed to September 5. Texas A&M University’s Kingsville and College Station campuses also reported no major building damage or flooding, and plan to begin classes early next week.

Servitas reports that Park West — a 3,406-bed student housing community developed through a public-private partnership with Texas A&M University in College Station — did not receive any damage or leakage during the storm. The property is even hosting 71 students that were evacuated from Texas A&M Galveston.

Ryan Lang, executive managing director at ARA Newmark, reports that the company is selling multiple properties in Huntsville and College Station currently, and that none of the properties received any significant damage related to Hurricane Harvey.

American Campus Communities and EdR have also reported that their properties in the area fared well with only minor leaks. Brent Little of Fountain Residential Partners notes that the 1,353 beds built by the firm at the University of Houston also experienced minimal damage.

“Gateway on Cullen – which is not adjacent to Brays Bayou [a river in Houston which overflowed during the storm] — fared the best from a flooding standpoint,” says Little. “We had a few roof and door leaks, but less than a dozen at this point, so we are very happy with the way the property performed.”


An image of Gateway on Cullen’s pool area taken on Monday. 

Campus Vue, owned by Arrimus Capital and built by Fountain Residential, reported that water did not get into the property’s first floor units and power remained throughout the storm. Vue on MacGregor — also built by Fountain and owned by Nelson Brothers — had streets flooded all around, but water stayed out of the first floor units and power was maintained, according to Little.

Little continued to report that Icon has a property under construction that was not completed for fall move-in in the Houston area. “I have not heard from Icon, which is managed by Asset Campus Housing,” he says. “I believe they will have large issues in trying to complete their project.”

The difficulties that Little feels communities under construction will face include the fact that materials will be in short supply; contractors will likely have manpower problems; Centerpoint Energy will be busy with restoring power and fixing issues; the city will have more important things to do than inspect buildings; and water penetration is likely to be significant in unfinished projects, causing damage and mold.

Student Housing Business will continue to report on the aftermath of Harvey as news filters in. 

— Katie Sloan

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