Chinese Investor Makes First Venture into US Student Housing

Aspen West Campus will be the newest housing option for students at The University of Texas-Austin.

Aspen W. Exterior renderingAustin—Grand China Fund made its first foray into U.S. student housing with an investment in the development of a 166-unit, 464-bed student housing high rise, Aspen West Campus, at 1909 Rio Grande St. in Austin, near the University of Texas-Austin main campus. The fund partnered with Aspen Heights Partners on the 17-story development, which is also Aspen’s first project in Austin.

Grand China Fund is a Beijing-based real estate private equity fund with about $1.5 billion in assets under management. The fund is recognized as something of a pioneer in overseas real estate investments in China, and has been creating diversified portfolios for investors, both institutions and private clients, since its inception in 2012.

The fund partners with operators and developers of commercial real estate in the U.S., and currently owns a portfolio of assets in such markets as Seattle, Los Angles, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Orlando and New York City. Most recently, JPI, a multifamily developer, partnered with Grand China Fund to develop a 747-unit apartment property in Anaheim’s Platinum Triangle.

As for the Austin project, “UT’s strong international reputation and Aspen Heights’ local expertise provide a compelling thesis for our investors,” noted Laurie Mathers, head of acquisitions for Grand China Fund.

Aspen West Campus, which is already under construction, will be located in the West Campus neighborhood of Austin, offering walkability and access to the immediately adjacent University of Texas. The units will range from efficiencies to five-bedroom floor plans, and the building will also feature a sixth-floor amenity terrace with a fitness center, game lounge, study lounge, and a pool area with grills.