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ATLANTA-Education Realty Trust Inc. of Memphis has contracted with locally based Place Properties LP to buy 13 student housing communities with 5,894 beds in six states. The $195-million transaction includes an undisclosed amount of cash, $98.7 million in assumed debt and partnership units. Closing is set for fourth quarter.

The pending transaction is the largest student housing portfolio purchase from a single party since EDR’s acquisition of 14 properties from affiliates of JPI Investment Co. LP in January 2005, says Paul O. Bower, EDR’s chairman, CEO and president.

“This agreement marks a major advancement for our young company,” Bower says. “We became a public company only seven months ago and simultaneously acquired 14 properties. We brought them in successfully, drove leasing and occupancy up, improved their operations and enhanced the portfolio’s value. Now we are doing it again.”

The EDR chief calls the sale-leaseback instrument “a very efficient structure in this case. It keeps people with specialized local market knowledge on their jobs and focused on operations and gives us the opportunity to help enhance those operations, as well as the ownership of the real estate.”

Cecil M. Phillips, Place Properties chairman and CEO, says he did the deal with EDR because “their people are the industry’s most experienced, and possess tremendous depth, insight and management savvy.”

Blue Vista Capital LLC of Chicago is advising Place Properties on the transaction. UBS Investment Bank is EDR’s financial advisor. The deal equates to about $33,084 per bed and will bring the company’s portfolio to 25,395 owned beds, 8,777 beds managed for third parties and 4,851 beds under development.

The properties are Troy Place, 408 beds, serving Troy State University, Troy, AL; Jacksonville Place, 504 beds, serving Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, AL; Statesboro Place, 528 beds, serving Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA; Macon Place, 336 beds, serving Macon State University, Macon, GA; and Clayton Place I and II, 854 beds, serving Clayton College and State University, Morrow, GA.

The deal also includes Carrollton Place, 336 beds, and River Place, 504 beds, serving State University of West Georgia, Carrolton, GA; Murray Place, 408 beds, serving Murray State University, Murray, KY; Western Place, 504 beds, serving Western Kentucky University, Bowling Green, KY; Cape Place, 360 beds, serving SE Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, MO; Clemson Place, 288 beds, and Berkeley Place, 480 beds, serving Clemson University, Clemson, SC; and Martin Place, 384 beds, serving University of Tennessee, Martin, TN.

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