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A Summary of Global Student Housing & University Real Estate Transactions: Week of May 8, 2023

May 10, 2023

SHURE Initiative

Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts has listed for sale a portfolio of academic-related buildings. According to Lesley University, the portfolio is valued at $38.2 million. The portfolio consists of five new buildings on Wendell Street in the Baldwin neighborhood and Phillips Place in West Cambridge. One of the buildings, 6 Sacramento Street, is a re-listing.

Golden Gate University in San Francisco has sold an office building to Long Market Property Partners for $17.6 million. 40 Jessie Street is a 48,5000 square-foot building and been marketed since last fall. The property sold for $362 per square foot. The building previously hosted Gold Gate University’s Student Services Center, and had been held by GGU since 1964. The building is approximately one block from the Salesforce Tower.

In comments on the acquisition, Long Market’s principal, Justin Shapiro said his firm plans to reposition the former GCU office asset.

“Older office inventory is being re-imagined for more modern tenant uses, according to Shapiro.”

Eastdil Secured is managing property listings for GGU, which offers undergrad and graduate degrees in professional careers, including: accounting, taxation, law and business. Total enrollment is 3,387.

Holy Names University in Oakland, California has defaulted on the loan for its property. The 154-year old Catholic school is preparing to close its doors in late 2023. Documents filed with the Alameda County Recorder’s Office identify the lender as Preston Hollow Community Capital, which could attempt to seize the property through foreclosure. Issued in 2019, the loan totals $49 million. In late 2022, Holy Names said it would close in 2023 following financial challenges, notably the impact of COVID-19 and a broader economic downturn.

Michigan State University broke ground on a $38 million mixed-use development near Henry Ford Hospital, which will include its new multicultural center. When completed in November 2024, the building will have 34,000 square feet and be used primarily to offer cultural education opportunities for its students. Future plans for the mixed-use building include an outdoor amphitheater, office space, art gallery, prayer rooms and other amenities.

The Durham County Council in the United Kingdom has approved plans for a new student accommodation building, to host up to 850 beds. Banks Group, a local Durham (UK) developer, is leading the project, which includes 11 buildings, mostly “cluster-flats” made up of five to ten bedrooms. The project also includes studio apartments and townhomes. The project will be constructed on the unused ground behind John Snow College. The new project is approved as local executives describe a housing crisis situation with many students sleeping on the street while awaiting housing. Pro-Vice Chancellor Jeremey Cook said the “the current pressures on student accommodation are a result of the additional student intake.” Cook went on to say that the pandemic’s impact on inflation has had an impact on housing availability.

According to JLL, the volume of students travelling abroad post-pandemic has recovered, and countries such as Australia are witnessing major increases in student visa holders. In fact, according to JLL, Australia witnessed its largest increase in visa holders in 2022. In the United States, international student enrollments increased to 80% pre-pandemic levels. According to JLL, investment in PBSA was $17.7 billion globally in 2022, the second highest in 15 years of tracking data. U.K. agency, StuRents, predicts a shortfall of roughly 450,000 beds by 2025.

Nova Living, part of Scottish property firm the Ambassador Group (UK), has applied for permission to develop a site to house almost 300 student beds. The 11-story project would be constructed on empty land in Glasgow. In its application, Nova Living, said that Glasgow’s student population is “growing much faster than the provision of accommodation” and “creating intense pressure for rented housing.”

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