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RIVERSIDE, CA-Education Realty Trust of Memphis has acquired the 525-bed University Village Towers student housing project from Irvine-based R.D. Olson Development for $45 million. Olson, which developed the student housing project, notes that the deal typifies a nationwide trend in which private owners are developing, buying and operating off-campus upscale student housing.

The 218,000-sf University Villlage complex is at 3500 Iowa Ave., close to the university and the 60 Freeway. Owners and developers Robert Olson, CEO and president of R.D. Olson, and Mark Carter, president of Walnut Creek-based Sequoia Equities, negotiated the transaction with Craig Cardwell, EVP of Educational Realty Trust. The sale was brokered by Curtis Palmer, Herb Chase and Alex Quintana of Transwestern Multi Housing Capital Advisors.

Olson originally purchased the property near the university in November 2004 and R.D. Olson Construction, also owned by Robert Olson, completed building the project in summer of 2005. Olson’s development came at the same time the City of Riverside’s redevelopment agency was improving the area with a new movie theater, restaurants and retail space.

The University Village Towers complex comprises three structures. The Towers is an eight-story tiered building featuring high-speed Internet access networked to the university, advanced audio-visual equipment, and security systems.

The Towers houses a computer lab, recreation area with foosball, theater-style THX room with a large screen television with cable and Internet viewing capabilities, fitness center, and study rooms. Laundry areas designed to facilitate socializing are on six floors of each structure.

The Garden is a four-story all-metal structure that features 10 single-story apartments and five two-story units. The third structure is a single-story building that houses a theater-style meeting room that ties into the university via fiber optics so students can view lectures and seminars.

At R.D. Olson Construction, Robert Olson is handing over the president’s title to Joe Kilar, who has joined the company from his previous position as a regional general manager in Southern California for Turner Construction Co. Olson has played a dual role in serving as the Irvine-based company’s president and CEO for the past three years.

Kilar will will oversee operations of the 175-employee company’s projects, which include upscale student housing, hotels and resorts for world-renowned brands, country clubs, restaurants, and high-density multifamily properties. Before joining R.D. Olson Construction, Kilar spent 29 years with Turner in various positions.

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