HOUSTON-American Campus Communities Inc. has kicked off construction on a second phase of Cullen Oaks on the University of Houston campus. The doors will be ready to open for the fall 2005 semester.

The $17-million project, rising at 4600 Cullen Blvd., consists of a four-story, U-shaped building totaling 150,000 sf, says Jason Wills, senior vice president of the Austin-based student housing REIT. The building will have 174 two-bedroom units and six one-bedroom apartments, totaling 354 beds. “Unlike multifamily, our buildings lease by the bed and student housing rents on nine-month academic year,” Wills says. Beds will lease from $520 to $600, payable in 10 monthly installments.

The second phase is going up on a 12.1-acre tract adjacent to the REIT’s existing building, a three-story structure with 234,000 sf and 535 beds. Wills tells GlobeSt.com that the REIT has a long-term ground lease with the University of Houston.

According to Wills, the second phase of Cullen Oak’s is American Campus Communities’ third student housing project with University of Houston. The other project is the one-year-old Bayou Oaks Greek Housing.

Dallas-based Craycroft Price Architects designed Cullen Oaks’ second phase. Locally based Davis Bros. Construction is acting as the general contractor.

All units in the new building will be fully furnished, offering private bedrooms with common living rooms and fully equipped kitchens. The development will include a fitness center and game room, social lounges, study rooms and laundry facilities on each floor. Additionally, the REIT is developing a two-level parking garage with about 470 spaces. American Campus Communities received interim construction financing through Birmingham, AL-based Compass Bank.

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