Howard University project rendering

WASHINGTON, DC-A student housing project, such as the one Howard University and Philadelphia-based Campus Apartments announced Tuesday is relatively rare in the District, but not for any particularly mysterious reason, Dan Bernstein, CIO and EVP of Campus Apartments tells “Any time you are in an urban environment development for student housing can be more difficult, and oftentimes the schools tend to house students off campus,” he says.

In general, though, he says, one of the tail winds for companies like Campus Apartments is the push for higher learning institutions to privatize student housing. “We are seeing a paradigm shift in terms of public-private opportunities,” Bernstein says.

Such as with Howard University. The $107 million project is being financed with tax-exempt bonds, which is a popular way to structure these deals–that, and using developer equity. The DC government, Bernstein reports “was great to work with. We are underwriting the transaction with RBC Capital and using several local law firms to help structure the transaction.”

Now is a particularly good time for tax-exempt bond financing given where interest rates are, he also says—with one caveat. “The project’s health needs to be such that bond investors feel secure with it.”

As reported earlier, the project, which will accommodate 1,360 students, is scheduled to deliver by August 2014.

It will consist of two residential buildings for underclassmen, to be located at the southeast core of the campus. The residences will include two-person semi-suites and communal social and study lounges. There will also be a 200-person multipurpose room.

Provident Resources Group, RBC Capital, Clark Construction and McKissack & McKissack are also working on the project.