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IRVING, TX-A growing interest in the student housing sector has prompted Real Estate Media to launch its first RealShare Student Housing conference. The event will take place March 24-25 at the Four Seasons Resort and Club.

Bill Bayless, president and CEO with Austin-based American Campus Communities Inc., is the keynote speaker. Like other RealShare conferences, there will be breakout sessions and networking opportunities. Sessions will focus on leasing and management strategies, architecture and design and joint venture partnerships between educational institutions and developers.

Conference highlights will include a state of the market address in a town hall format, a breakfast workshop on student housing in the UK and a panel about the industry and impact of the credit crunch. The RealShare Conference Series is a production of Real Estate Media, which also publishes Real Estate Forum and GlobeSt.com.

Richard Kelley, RealShare’s executive director, says the conference was developed because the student housing industry has had significant growth and caught the attention of more developers due to its recession-proof nature of the student housing industry. “Kids continue going to colleges and universities despite the economy,” Kelley explains. “Sometimes in past recessions, enrollment has gone up, which has increased the need for student housing.”

Additionally, student housing is a niche that hasn’t gotten much attention until recently. Kelley points out that the National Multi Housing Council has had conferences focusing on student housing too. “Response to our event has demonstrated there’s a strong need and desire from the industry, both from an information and networking standpoint,” Kelley tells GlobeSt.com. He expects more than 400 people will attend from inside and outside the US.

Kelley says the conference is geared to help participants understand what’s happening in the arena nationwide as well as where the industry is headed. Because of the unique nature of the industry, the conference will include workshops on investment, development and financing. And like other RealShare conferences, the event is set up for networking. The event at the Four Seasons, situated at 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., will include golf outing on the championship course followed by a cocktail reception. The following day will be devoted to the conference. “We hope participants will come away with a Rolodex full of new contacts that will help them do deals and grow their businesses,” Kelley adds.

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