[IMGCAP(1)]McLEAN, VA-Varsity Capital Advisors, a student housing investor, has acquired a 249-unit portfolio for $12 million that serves Marshall University in Huntington, WV. The company acquired it from two local investors–Pyramid Properties and University Suites–company co-founder John Buttarazzi, tells GlobeSt.com. Pyramid Properties is being retained as a property manager, he adds.

This transaction marks the beginning of an aggressive expansion strategy by the firm, which up until now has been primarily active in New England. By the end of the year, Varsity expects to have completed between $50 million to $100 million in acquisitions.

[IMGCAP(2)]West Virginia will continue to be an area of interest for the firm, Buttarazzi says. West Virginia University in Morgantown, for example, is an attractive possibility, as are properties in other states east of the Mississippi, he says. “We are actively negotiating some of these deals right now.”

The Huntington portfolio–the company’s first acquisition outside of New England–was selected because of its strong fundamentals. The units are within walking distance to Marshall University. Also, “there are a number of exciting initiatives taking place at Marshall and in Huntington that make this acquisition the right fit for Varsity,” David Arthur, co-founder of Varsity, says in a prepared statement.

Varsity obtained non-recourse debt financing from United Bank of Charleston. Zuckerberg Investment Partners and Varsity Capital Advisors provided the equity. Kaufman & Canoles provided legal counsel to Varsity.

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