present for the event.
IRVING, TX-The fifth annual RealShare Student Housing conference’s morning session highlighted a variety of panelists providing a wealth of information to the approximately 450 participants. The main topic highlights at the conference, taking place at the Four Seasons Resort & Spa were that, with state appropriations to universities dwindling, enrollment increasing and interest rates still low, student housing remains attractive – as long as you know what you’re doing.
“You need to speak the same language as all the stakeholders involved with student housing,” commented Jamie Wilhelm, executive vice president/public-private transactions, American Campus Communities in the “Inside the P3 Decision” panel discussion.
Also required is a lot of patience. Noted David Adelman, Campus Apartments President in “The View from the Top” panel: “Doing on-campus deals moves glacially. And I’m being generous.” It isn’t the fault of the schools, he went on to say, but given the variety of stakeholders involved in the development process, any developer or partner needs to expect delays.
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Panelists also pointed out that second- and third-tier university sites are being targeted by many developers and buyers. “View from the Top” panel participant Donna Preiss, Preiss Co. president pointed out that second- and third-tier schools offer a good opportunity for newer projects. Furthermore, in general, “it’s an incredible time to buy student housing,” noted Brian Dinerstein, president of the Dinerstein Cos. in “The View from the Top” panel.
Technology was also a huge issue that was bandied back and forth in the morning sessions. Panelists during “The Big Three Perspective” pointed out that today’s millennials are very sophisticated when it comes to technology. As such, “the important thing is that students have access to all open market solutions,” remarked Bill Bayless, American Campus Communities’ CEO during the “Big Three Perspective” panel.