KINGSVILLE, TX–As GlobeSt.com reported at the end of June,Domus Development has started work on a newluxury, off-campus student housing community for TexasA&M Kingsville. Legends Kingsville will open in August2015, housing 504 beds. The project is estimated to cost $22million. GlobeSt.com caught up with Domus owner Eric Jakimier tofind out more about the project and the current student housingmarket.

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GlobeSt.com: You currently broke ground on LegendsKingsville, how will this project differ from other student housingoptions in the area?

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Jakimier: There are only two otherby-the-bed properties in the market, one is more of a suite-styleproduct, almost an on-campus product without a kitchen and theother is more like what we are providing except without bed/bathparity and without a one bedroom unit. Our development will alsohave a higher finish quality and amenities.

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GlobeSt.com: Tell me a little about Texas A&M –Kingsville.

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Jakimier: It is so pleasant atTexas A&M - Kingsville to be dealing with a university thattruly "gets it". They are in extreme growth mode and understandthat they need to spend their precious resources on their corebusiness: professors and classrooms. Let the private sector handlehousing. They also understand how competitive the market is to getstudents and that high quality housing can bring those students totheir door. We are seen as an asset not a threat. Believe me,that is not always the case!

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GlobeSt.com: When looking for new opportunities whatthings do you take into account?

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Jakimier: Enrollment growth isprobably the biggest factor. I have no desire to be in a marketwhere we have to steal residents from other properties to survive.Ideally the pie is getting bigger so everyone does well. We havefound as well that once we arrive in town the older, maybe not asnice properties renovate which benefits everyone: the students, theuniversity, the city and ultimately us too as rents typicallyincrease on these older properties.

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GlobeSt.com: How many projects do you currently haveunder construction?

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Jakimier: We are just finishingMustang Ranch in Stephenville for an August move-in and of courseLegends Kingsville is just underway. We are particularly thrilledabout Mustang Ranch having reached 100% pre-leased the first weekof April. Our leasing staff (Asset Campus Housing) did an excellentjob of filling that property well ahead of schedule.

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GlobeSt.com: Will you be adding more projects to yourpipeline this year?

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Jakimier: I am always looking for newopportunities! There are a couple of things that we are looking atand of course being a one-man-band Domus can be pretty nimble.

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GlobeSt.com: How has the student housing market changedover the years?

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Jakimier: I think the overall qualityof the development is much higher now. The resident just expects somuch more now. When I began developing on-campus properties for JPIin 2002 4/2s were still the norm and certainly we would never haveever imagined granite countertops!

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GlobeSt.com: What are students looking for in housingtoday?

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Jakimier: I think they are looking foran extension of what they had at home: nice finishes, roomy units,fast Internet and the like, but also that resort experience,something beyond what they have seen everywhere else. While thebasic bones of a Domus development are the same, each of ourproperties has it's own unique identity. Why do the same thing overand over? That's so boring! Compare our two Nacogdoches properties.One is very traditional in appearance to tie in with the 100year-old house that is our clubhouse and the other is at the farend of the contemporary spectrum. That defied conventional wisdomfor a "secondary" market like Stephen F. Austin but I wanted bothends of the market plus with so many students from the Houston andDallas/Fort Worth metro areas it didn't seem that much of a stretchto me. That strategy has been proven I think by Lofts leasingconsistently well.

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I also think residents are much more sophisticated these daysand know they should be treated more nicely than just a personfiling a bed. We are very fortunate to have teamed up with amanagement company, Asset Campus Housing, that shares this corebelief of an extremely high level of customer service with me andmy investors.

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