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Providing Student Housing in Southern California

by | Sep 30, 2016 | Commercial Real Estate


In recent news, experts have discussed how private developers of student housing in southern California can create residences that appeal to students, parents and academic facilities/institutions. In order to do so, developers must consider which amenities are most in demand by all those involved in the student’s housing decision.

Priorities can vary, but there are identifiable trends. Students are looking for pedestrian-oriented housing; housing near to campus, student job centers, hubs for college age nightlife, and in some cases, Greek housing. They want new, modern and furnished apartments with usable common areas (i.e. study lounges, fitness centers, etc.) Many assume students make game rooms, movie rooms and the like a top priority, but that is not what experts find draws students to housing. Most are much more concerned about study space – not just a study room, but multiple study rooms. They are also making fast and reliable internet access and responsive management a high priority. Students are looking to get good value for the amount of rent they pay for student housing. Since many off campus student housing is more expensive than on campus housing, they are looking at the features and amenities to make the difference a worthwhile expenditure. The most important amenity is probably high-speed internet access throughout the student housing facility/community.

Parents tend to place a high priority on safety. Parents are also pleased by the idea of “one stop shopping.” They dislike seeing their students need to worry about signing joint leases for an apartment and then have to set up utilities in their own names and juggle multiple bills each month.

According to statistics, the closer students live to their college campus, the more likely they are to achieve academic success and successfully complete their course of study. Therefore, the closer off campus student housing is to campus, the more the university will want to be in tune with what’s going on. In fact, some student housing developers have invited the campus to participate in early stage planning for off campus housing adjacent to the university. Some academic universities still prefer to control their own student housing, but others are turning to off campus student housing as an alternative that benefits them. They’re choosing to work with private developers to keep student housing projects off their own balance sheet. When campuses seek to work with private developers, they tend to look for those with an operational track record with other institutions. They also seek no financial obligations and no impact on their balance sheet and bond ratings. To put it bluntly, their top priority in working with a private developer to generate student housing is getting the best product without fiscal commitment on the part of the university. In terms of design and amenities, universities usually look for larger common areas, smaller suite spaces (in order to generate more of a community feel to the space and encourage student engagement).

If you would like to discuss private development of student housing projects in southern California in more detail, we would love to talk to you. Get in touch with one of the experienced real estate attorneys at The Law Office of the Law Office of Ernesto Aldover today.