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HUNTSVILLE, TX-A Pennsylvania REIT has acquired 26 acres near Sam Houston State University for $1.8 million to develop 318 class A student-housing apartments. The 228-unit first phase is targeted for a fall 2007 opening.

The Newtown Square’s GMH Communities Trust development team was unavailable by publication time to comment on the groundbreaking and construction details. According to a recent construction report from American School & University magazine, the median cost for similar developments is $20.4 million.

A GMH spokeswoman tells GlobeSt.com that Sam Houston State University was targeted for the 23-building development because its enrollment has increased 24% since 2000. She says smaller schools are benefiting as enrollment levels are met and exceeded at the state’s larger universities.

“The acquisition and potential development of this class A-plus, walking-distance site represents our commitment to providing luxury student housing options with irreplaceable locations in high growth markets,” John DeRiggi, president of GMH’s student housing division, says in a press release. “Sam Houston State University represents a prime example of the target markets that we seek to enter in states with increasing high school graduation rates, such as Texas.”

In Texas, GMH current owns and operates University Pointe and University Trails near Texas Tech University in Lubbock and Uptown near the University of North Texas in Denton. Rents on the Texas units, which offer a mix of two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments, range from $475 to $815 per month per bed.

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