Campus Crest Communities Lesson Plan


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Campus Crest Communities Lesson Plan

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Campus Crest Communities Lesson Plan

  1. 1. • • touch • • Caption tk caption tk tk tk collaborate Lesson Plan Student housing isn’t just about providing shelter. Unlike their market-rate counterparts, this sector’s owners and operators cater to a resident population that requires extra doses of TLC. By Jennifer Popovec Today’s student-housing properties are far removed from the ones immortalized oriented operation. In fact, we don’t hire [team members] from the in the classic movie Animal House—no drunken frat boys passed out apartment industry—we hire out of the lodging sector.” on the lawn, no toilet paper hanging from the trees, and no bed sheets streaming from the windows. But that doesn’t mean student living Operationally Intense quarters are just like conventional apartment communities. In fact, One of the biggest differences between conventional apartments and apartment professionals are often surprised by the differences—dif- student housing is the level of operational intensity demanded by the[all photo credits] Courtesy [the developer] ferences that make owning and operating student housing, some academic calendar and the resident base. As a result, student-housing would say, much more challenging, and more rewarding. properties generally require a larger, specialized staff. “I always tell people that a student-housing property is really an “In student housing, customer interactions are heightened,” says extended-stay hotel that’s run like a cruise ship,” says Ted Rollins, Matt Fulton, vice president of operations of Memphis, Tenn.–based co-chairman and CEO of Charlotte, N.C.–based Campus Crest Com- EdR, a REIT that owns or manages 36,600 beds. “Conventional apart- munities, a REIT that owns and manages approximately 6,324 apart- ments usually have one contact per unit, but because we lease by the ment student housing units and 17,064 beds. “We have a big focus bed, we often have three or four. We could be dealing with 700 people on student lifestyle and experience, and we run a very hospitality-­ for a 300-unit property.” multifamily executive january 2013 2
  2. 2. • • touch • • Fulton says students (and parents) expect a contact Busy Handsto be on site and available 24/7. Student-housing op- Once students get settled, students involved.” Similarly, Campuserators usually hire students who live on campus and operators turn their attention Oltersdorf acknowledges Crest Communities has acan address after-hours issues. to making sure their new that many conventional comprehensive resident- residents are engaged— apartment communities life program, dubbed The presence of on-site employees who do double with the university, fellow regularly host events, but SCORES, which incorporatesduty as students also reduces behavioral issues, says students, and the community. most of them are centered social, cultural, outreach,Dan ­Oltersdorf, vice president of resident life for Cam- “When your residents on resident retention. “Of recreational, educational, andpus Advantage. The Austin, Texas–based property have some buy-in to the course, we want to retain sustainability firm employs 350 student-staff members. community, they’re much less our residents, but our “You know what they say likely to be disruptive,” says programming goes beyond about idle minds and hands,” “We try to emphasize the importance of their role— Matt Fulton, vice president of retention to giving them skills says Tedd Rollins, CEO ofthey’re involved in leasing, marketing, event planning, operations for EdR. they need to be successful.” Campus Crest. “We do a lotand emergency management,” Oltersdorf notes. “Since Students who have a Campus Advantage of fun stuff that keeps theirthey’re peers to our residents, they create a more cohe- positive housing experience offers several areas of minds and hands busy.” are also more likely to programming, including social SCORES includessive community. Their presence is a significant deter- graduate and have higher events, life-skills training, everything from bonfires,rent to [students] getting out of control.” GPAs, says Dan Oltersdorf, academic support, and civic movie nights, and concerts In addition to the challenges created by housing vice president of resident life and community engagement. to blood drives and holidayhundreds of young adults, operators have to contend for Campus Advantage. “We “We host résumé workshops, turkey giveaways. Residentswith a single move-in period, usually mid-August. try to help them enhance study groups, and financial- may be as involved as their college experience, success seminars,” Oltersdorf they want. “We give themThus, leasing efforts are focused on getting properties and that’s where resident- says. “We also collaborate freedom with boundaries,”filled prior to summer break. “If you miss that lease-up life programming comes in. with the universities for a says Campus Crest co-window, you’re sunk,” Oltersdorf warns. It’s geared toward getting variety of programs.” chairman Mike multifamily executive january 2013 3
  3. 3. • • touch • •“When it comes Unlike conventional communities, where move-ins “The expectations of parents are very high,” saysdown to it, we’re occur throughout the year, student-housing properties have to align with the new school term. EdR, for exam- Mike Hartnett, co-chairman and chief investment offi- cer of Campus Crest. “When it comes down to it, we’re in the business ple, has its marketing plans ready to go almost imme- in the business of taking care of people’s kids.”of taking care of diately after move-in is completed so that it can start Smart student-housing owners and operators go people’s kids.” filling up units for the following school year. out of their way to interact with parents. More im- — Mike Hartnett, That single move-in date affects not only leasing, portantly, they never forget that parents are entrust- co-chairman and chief investment officer, but also the make-ready process and resident check-in. ing their children to their care, says David Adelman, Campus Crest The effort involved in getting units ready for move-in is president and CEO of Philadelphia-based Campus gargantuan. In Gainesville, Fla., where Campus Advan- Apartments, developers, owners, and managers of stu- tage manages communities near the University of Flor- dent housing, with more than 32,000 beds in 24 states. ida, the firm turns 1,488 beds in fewer than two weeks. “That’s why our business is even more focused on safe- In contrast, EdR’s Fulton points out, conventional mul- ty and security,” Adelman says. tifamily operators usually can handle make-ready and “I think the old attitude was that you had to deal turns in-house because move-ins are spread out. with parents,” adds Oltersdorf. “The new attitude is to channel the energy instead of blocking it … to find new Answering to Mom and Dad ways to communicate with parents and capture their Today’s parents are more involved in their children’s attention, because they’re now shadow residents in our lives than ever before. That creates an entirely unique properties.” MFE set of opportunities and challenges for student- housing owners and operators. Jennifer Popovec is a freelance writer based in Fort Worth, multifamily executive january 2013 4