PHILADELPHIA-Brandywine Realty Trust has broken ground on joint-venture construction of a 33-story, 850-bed student housing tower at Brandywine’s Cira South development in University City.
The project, called The Grove at Cira Centre South, is to rise at 30th and Chestnut Streets on a site leased from the University of Pennsylvania. Leasing will began later this year for the housing, which is expected to be complete by fall of 2014.
Brandywine’s partners for the project are Campus Crest Communities and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital.
“We recognized the strong demand for graduate and undergraduate student housing in University City” with the project, said Gerard H. Sweeney, Brandywine’s president and CEO.
Ted W. Rollins, the CEO of Campus Crest – which has had Harrison Street as its investment partner for 18 projects since 2008 – said the Brandywine student-housing project provides an opportunity for his firm to enter a more urban market.
Brandywine and Campus Crest, both REITs, possess complementary skill sets, noted the executives. Brandywine has extensive experience in urban, high-rise development and deep roots in the Philadelphia market, while Campus Crest brings its patented resident-life focused management programs to the project, which has a total cost of $158.5 milion.
A $97.8 million construction loan has been provided by PNC Bank and Capital One. Brandywine and Campus Crest will each own 30% of the joint venture, while HSRE will own 40%.
The University City tower is expected to attract graduate and undergraduate student residents from the area schools, which include Penn and Drexel University with enrollments of more than 25,000, along with other colleges and universities.
The building site is within walking distance of retail and mass transit stations. Apartments will include a bath for every bed, and amenities include a roof-top swimming pool, media lounge and a 24-hour fitness center. One floor will be devoted to concierge service providing hotel-like amenities throughout the day: coffee service, a library nd technology center, and first-floor retail.
Campus Crest will act as property manager, providing security and a program of activities.
The tower, which will extend the Cira skyline on the western bank of the Schuylkill, was designed by architect Erdy McHenry in consultation with the development’s master plan architect César Pelli. It was designed to achieve LEED Gold certification.
The site address is 2930 Chestnut Street in University City, which derives its name from the group of colleges, universities, health systems and think tanks situated in the neighborhood west of downtown.