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TEMPE, AZ-A company formed by Campus Acquisitions Inc. expects to close May 1 on the $5 million-purchase of a 1.5-acre parcel near Arizona State University. The Chicago-based developer plans to start immediately on construction of a $30-million, high-end student housing complex.

The development site at 922 and 936 E. Apache Blvd. formerly held a Taco Bell restaurant and Texaco station, respectively. The land was sold by the Nelson Cos. of Des Moines, which acquired it last year to build a 100-unit condominium project with ground-floor retail. When the bottom fell out of the condo market, Nelson offered the property to Campus Acquisitions, which it had worked with on projects in Des Moines. The seller will stay on as general contractor.

The 10-story project, which will have 132 rental units, is located near the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. J.J. Smith, project director for Campus Acquisitions, calls the area the best market in the country for student housing. “There’s a severe shortage of student housing near the university,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “It has one of the lowest housing to student ratios in the nation.”

The complex will have a mix of one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units ranging from 550 sf to 1,285 sf. Units will be rented out by the bedroom for $640 to $1,000, setting up a monthly per bed average of $685. All units will be fully furnished and feature a living room with 42-inch plasma screen TV, large balcony, dining area and condo-quality kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Cable TV and Internet service are provided as part of the rent. Shared amenities include an infinity pool with adjoining hot tub, steam room and sauna, tanning beds, fitness center, volleyball and basketball courts, study center with WiFi and club room. Tenants will also have access to assigned parking, secure bicycle storage and participation in a car-sharing program.

Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture in Chicago is designing the project, now being called Apache. Completion is penciled for July 2009.

The privately held Campus Acquisitions owns roughly 2,500 units with 6,000 beds in seven US markets. Smith says the company is interested in additional student housing development opportunities in Arizona and elsewhere. Nelson still plans to redevelop a 2.5-acre site in Downtown Gilbert, AZ that’s targeted for office and retail buildings.

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