AUSTIN—Dobie Center at the University of Texas at Austin has tapped Campus Evolution Villages to manage the property. The 979-bed student housing facility is also in the midst of a $4 million renovation, which will impact the common areas and rooms as well as create a 75,000-square-foot mall at the base of the tower.
GlobeSt.com caught up with Andrew Stark, Campus Evolution Villages’ CEO, to find out more about the latest management assignment, what his company looks for in a student housing facility and what students are looking for in housing today. Campus Evolution Villages has grown significantly in the last two years, managing more than 10,000 beds at 23 properties across 21 distinct universities.
GlobeSt.com: When looking for properties to add to your management portfolio what are you looking for?
Andrew Stark: In taking on new management assignments, we look to work with owners who recognize the value-add of philosophy that student housing is much, much more than merely “heads-in-beds.” our approach is student-centric from how we interact with our residents and their parents to delivering sophisticated, useful products and services that make living their college life better and which will be a value-add to the property’s performance by enhancing our residents’ lives.
GlobeSt.com: Student housing has changed significantly over the years. What is the most surprising/interesting change that you’ve noticed?
Stark: Of course the quality of student housing itself and the level of amenities have been on an upward trajectory over the past 5+ years and while not so surprising in and of itself, the level of student sophistication in making a housing choice has increased and is welcomed by those of us focused on customer service.
GlobeSt.com: You’ve recently been retained to manage Dobie Center, what makes this student housing option differ from others in the area?
Stark: Dobie center is where it all started! It is the iconic student housing property that launched modern student housing sector in the US. Dobie Center not only defines the skyline at University of Texas at Austin, it defines student housing for so many as they enter their college years. The property has just completed a $4+ million renovation, including the cafeteria, common areas and room furnishings as well as the 75,000-square-foot mall that is part of the student experience when living at Dobie Center.
GlobeSt.com: Dobie Center is your second Texas property. What was attractive about this market?
Stark: Austin is the birth-place of student housing and the UT Austin campus is vibrant and growing; Dobie is at the center of it all.
GlobeSt.com: Are you actively pursuing any other properties in the Texas area?
Stark: We are looking at additional acquisitions and management assignments in Texas.