Harrison Street JV to build student housing

The Chicago-based private equity real estate firm has joined with The Preiss Company to build new off-campus student housing at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

Harrison Street Real Estate Capital will undertake its second student housing deal with Raleigh, North Carolina-based partner The Preiss Company. The joint venture will develop University Village, a 168-unit student housing project near the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

The project is currently under construction and will begin leasing in August of next year. In a previous joint venture with Preiss, the largest provider of off-campus housing at both North Carolina State University and Clemson University, the partnership acquired and renovated the 130-unit University Club complex near UNC Charlotte, adjacent to the University Village site. University Club is close to fully occupied headed into this school year, according to Preiss.

Upscale University Village touts amenities like tanning beds, concierge service, a coffee bar, arcade games, flat-screen televisions and a two-story clubhouse and pool complete with a waterfall in addition to basic perks for students, such as computer centers. Students, who can buy individual leases for a space in a unit, pay $335 a month for a slot in a four-bedroom, four-bathroom apartment at University Club.

Harrison Street and Preiss hope to build a $100 million (€78 million) portfolio of student housing through acquisitions and development through the end of next year.

Harrison Street has closed on $75 million (€59 million) in initial equity commitments for its first fund and expects to raise at least double that amount when it will likely close the fund to investors, managing director Christopher Merrill recently told PrivateEquityRealEstate.com.

The Chicago-based private equity real estate firm was formed in 2005 as a partnership between members of the Galvin family of Chicago, which founded Motorola and Merrill, a former executive at Chicago-based Heitman who oversaw the firm’s European operations.

In addition to student housing, so far Harrison Street has invested $90 million (€71 million) in a joint venture with United Stor-All to develop and acquire a $300 million (€235 million) self-storage portfolio along the East Coast.