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NEWTOWN SQUARE, PA-On October 28, the day GMH Communities Trust began trading as GCT on the NYSE, Gary M. Holloway, CEO, told GlobeSt.com his company will close next week on a 50-year, $571-million housing contract for eight Navy bases in the Northeast. It addition, the company has 15 student housing properties in the pipeline, which it expects to acquire in four separate transactions at undisclosed prices.

Of the 15, GMH expects to acquire 10 with an aggregate of 7,000 beds by the end of November, according to John DeRiggi, chief investment officer. Furthermore, according to Holloway, GMH is currently involved in pilot programs of the federal government’s proposed initiative “to begin privatizing single-soldier (barrack-style) housing.”

Holloway says his company’s military and student housing specialty niches already have synergy because they are both “destination oriented and have captive audiences. Single-soldier housing adds even more synergy between the two.”

Against this background, common stock of the locally based specialty REIT opened trading at $12 per share, which is less than the previously anticipated pricing of between $13 and $15 per share, and fluctuated little to close at $12-per-share that day. The IPO is for approximately 28.6 million shares, and the underwriters have a 30-day option for about 4.2 million additional shares to cover over-allotments. Approximately eight million shares traded on opening day, and the initial settlement is scheduled to close on November 3. Net proceeds of $312 million are anticipated after expenses.

Banc of America Securities and Merrill Lynch led the underwriting syndicate and are joint book-running managers. Deutsche Bank Securities, JP Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley & Co., and Raymond James Associates acted as co-managers.

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