Blue Vista Forms Student Housing JV with Korean Companies

The partnership's first two investments represent $250 million in asset value.
Theory Syracuse. Image courtesy of Blue Vista Capital Management

The U.S.’ student housing sector continues to attract foreign investment as Blue Vista Capital Management LLC has formed a joint venture with two South Korean companies. The firm is partnering with Koramco Asset Management and another South Korean institution to invest in student housing assets across the U.S.

The student housing partnership has already acquired Villas on Rio, a 601-bed community near the University of Texas, and recapitalized Theory Syracuse, an 856-bed community by Syracuse University. The two initial investments represent approximately $250 million in total combined asset value.

Theory Syracuse was originally built in 2018 by Blue Vista and PeakMade Real Estate, an affiliate that focuses on student housing management and development. The 245-unit community offers a business center, game room, package locker system, hot tub, courtyard, study areas, bike storage and fitness areas. Located at 919 E. Genesee St., Theory Syracuse is within walking distance from Syracuse University’s main campus and the city’s downtown amenities.

The partnership also recapitalized Villas on Rio that’s located near the University of Texas’ West Campus. The community totals 279 units in studio, one-, two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom floorplans that range in size from 435 to 2,200 square feet. Villas on Rio also offers a pool, fitness club, clubhouse, study area, sports lounge, on-site Starbucks, private study rooms and bike storage. Located at 2111 Rio Grande St., the community is also a short drive from downtown Austin.

Jason Schwartz, managing principal of student housing at Blue Vista, told Multi-Housing News that the joint venture will focus on student housing communities that are more than 95 percent occupied and are market leaders within their submarkets.

“We are looking to invest in premier assets that are walkable to campus and are likely to retain a market leading position due to a given property’s location, amenity base and reputation,” Schwartz told MHN. “We plan to hold these assets for the long-term and thus, are also focused on high quality construction materials that can stand the test of time.”

Schwartz also told MHN that the joint venture is targeting student housing near “power five conference” universities and those with growing enrollment bases in a market with strong supply and demand fundamentals.

INTERNATIONAL APPEAL

KN Kim, head of Overseas Real Estate Investment Team 1 at Koramco, said in prepared remarks, that there is significant demand for investment into core U.S. student housing with growing global momentum. In a panel from the National Multifamily Housing Council and InterFace Student Housing Conference in October 2020, company executives concluded that the student housing market has attracted many international investors, with the trend likely to continue into 2021.

For Blue Vista, the company has acquired and/or developed more than $3 billion in student housing properties since 2003. Blue Vista has also been expanding its footprint to Canada where the company acquired a 343-bed student housing community adjacent to Ryerson University in Toronto in late 2020.