Athens Ridge

ATLANTA—The Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group arranged senior debt and preferred equity financing totaling $29 million for the ground-up development of Athens Ridge, a class A, 190-unit luxury student housing community in Athens, GA. That marks an 85% LTC.

Ackman managing director Paula J. Ingram, with support from Mark Rutherford, secured senior debt financing for the client in the amount of $22.2 million, or 65% LTC. The remaining $6.83 million was raised through a private preferred equity source.  

Developer experience played a role in securing the student housing financing. Combined, the client partners have developed or acquired more than 4,165 apartment and condominium units, 1,840,000 square feet of office space, 800,000 square feet of industrial buildings, and 390,000 square feet of shopping center space.

The student housing project spans 35 acres. It is a five-minute ride by shuttle or car from the Athens campus of University of Georgia, the largest university in the state, and is close to four other schools of higher education and Downtown Athens.  

When completed, Athens Ridge will compete in the local student housing market with class A amenities and technology. For example, amenities include a 7,000-square-foot resort-style pool in the shape of a “G” with a lazy river, as well as a fitness center, outdoor game area, a jogging trail, a dog park with a separate “Bull Dog” area, and on-going campus shuttles.

Athens Ridge is being offered to students for the Fall 2014 semester. The student housing community will offer 23 three-story residential buildings with more than six acres of open amenity space. Units will average 2,200 square feet with an open floor plan 30% larger on average than competitors in the market. All units will include attached two-car garages and a covered screened-in porch.