Campus Apartments To Break Ground on $200M Project
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Campus Apartments To Break Ground on $200M Project

Campus Apartments To Break Ground on $200M Project
November 17, 2011

By Jacqueline Hlavenka

SHIPPENSBURG, PA-Philadelphia-based student housing developer Campus Apartments LLC will break ground on the first phase of a $200 million student housing project at Shippensburg University this week, has learned exclusively. The first phase of the construction will involve the development of three new on-campus buildings that will accommodate 924 students, a project estimated at $70 million alone.

Being the largest construction project in the school’s history, Dan Bernstein, executive vice president and chief investment officer at Campus Apartments, tells that the entire three-phase project is part of the University’s long-range plan to overhaul its existing campus housing options and provide more modern facilities for students. It is slated for completion in summer 2015, with the first phase expected to be ready for occupancy by January 2013. “Shippensburg realized that they have great academic programs, and in order to be competitive with its peers and to attract the highest caliber students, they need to upgrade their facilities on campus,” he says. A ceremonial groundbreaking will take place on Friday, November 18 at 2:30 p.m. here.

The first phase will include two residential facilities on the north side of the campus and one on the south side. The facilities will include semi-suite and full-suite floor plans, multipurpose programming areas and study and social lounges. In addition, one of the northside buildings will also include a 13,000-square-foot wellness center, while the soutshside building will include a new home for the University’s Honors program.

After the three buildings are constructed in the first phase, three to four existing buildings will be taken down, Bernstein says. The university currently has nine on-campus dormitory options that were build between the 1950s and 60s. “Systematically we will be bringing new housing on-line and taking the old housing off-line,” he says. “At the end of the third phase, it will be a little over 2,700 beds as planned. But the first phase is 924 beds, and once we do that, we will be able to demolish some of the existing housing to make way for phase two.”

To finance phase one, Campus Apartments worked in concert with RBC Capital to arrange bond financing for the project. “For several years, the tax-exempt bond finance market was choppy,” Bernstein says, noting that this project was different due to the high-demand for new housing. “It went incredibly smoothly,” he says. “That’s really a testament to the strength of the development team and the school. They felt extremely confident about those improvements and the absorption of those new beds. It was very well-received by the investor community.”

The entire project is under the direction of Shippensburg University Student Services Inc., a nonprofit that oversees the student community. The development team consists of architect CUBE 3 Studio, general contractor Fortune-Johnson Inc. and consulting engineer Greenman-Pedersen Inc. “This has been a very fluid process and the university has been a great partner and extremely organized,” Bernstein says. “As a developer when you have such an organized partner and one so committed to its mission of improving the quality of housing on campus, it’s truly a pleasure to work with that group.”

Campus Apartments was chosen to develop the three-phase project after being selected through an RFP through the university and the state of Pennsylvania.