bcIMC’s QuadReal invests US $600M in US Student Housing Venture

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By Ted Liu

QuadReal Property Group (QuadReal), the real estate investment arm of bcIMC, CA Student Living (CASL) and GI Partners (GI) have formed a joint venture to acquire, develop and manage student housing at select universities throughout the United States. The transaction closed recently.

QuadReal has invested US $600 million equity into the joint venture. CASL and GI are co-investors and general partners, with CASL serving as the operating partner.

Founded in 2004, CA Student Living is the student housing investment entity of Chicago-based CA Ventures LLC, whose $6.8 billion international portfolio spans multiple real estate asset classes. CASL has acquired 5,000 university beds and developed another 20,000 new beds since its founding in 2004, making it one of the most active infill student housing developers in the country.

Founded in 2001, GI Partners is a leading private investment firm based in San Francisco, CA, with offices in Greenwich, CT and Chicago, IL. The firm currently manages $14 billion in capital commitments through private equity and real estate strategies for recognized institutional investors across the globe.

The joint venture provides QuadReal and GI with a compelling entry point into the growing US student housing market. The sector performs well throughout all economic cycles, and offers downside protection during periods of economic contraction.

“Much of the student housing stock in the US is aging and in need of repair or replacement, providing an opportunity to invest in long-term assets that provide an ongoing, dependable revenue stream and align with QuadReal’s desire for strong investment returns,” said Jonathan Dubois-Phillips, President, International Real Estate, QuadReal.

The joint venture’s initial portfolio includes 10 properties developed and managed by CASL. The properties are geographically diversified in 10 major US university markets across nine states. In addition, the joint venture will acquire and develop additional student housing projects across the country to grow and diversify the portfolio.

Emerging fundamentals in the US student housing market are creating change and opportunity. Students living in on- and off-campus housing increasingly demand walkable locations with modern amenities such as fitness centers, study lounges and communal areas, as well as features like high-speed internet.

“More than a decade ago, CA Student Living began as a pioneer of core infill, pedestrian-oriented developments with modern designs and amenities,” said Tom Scott, CEO of CASL. “Our unique site selection and product development skillset strongly align with the investment philosophy of the new joint venture. The long-term nature of this partnership with QuadReal and GI underscores our confidence in the continued growth of this burgeoning sector.”

“As long-term investors in high quality real estate platforms, GI Partners carefully seeks the right mix of property sectors with attractive growth attributes and experienced, successful partners capable of achieving scale,” said John Saer, Managing Director of GI. “We are delighted to partner with the accomplished team at CASL and to align with a strategic investor in QuadReal.”

“The new joint venture reflects QuadReal’s commitment to create places for people, provide peerless service to our residents, and broaden and deepen our partnerships around the globe,” added Dubois-Phillips.

photo credit: CA Student Living