Education Realty Trust and Edwards Cos. to Build Student Housing

Tuscaloosa, Ala.--Education Realty Trust Inc. and the Edwards Cos. have inked a deal to develop and manage new student housing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.–Education Realty Trust Inc. and the Edwards Cos. have inked a deal to develop and manage new student housing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala. On the eastern edge of campus near the university‚Äôs schools of law and nursing, the property will include 774 beds within 337 units in a variety of studios, one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom apartments.

The Edwards Cos. is developing and constructing the property, which will be owned jointly by the two companies. Education Realty Trust is the majority owner and managing member of the joint venture and will manage the community. Construction is slated to begin this summer for a summer 2012 opening.

The buildings will be three and five stories, with both parking garages and surface parking. The property’s clubhouse will include a movie theatre, fitness center, study space, game lounge, computer lab, great room with kitchen, and staff offices. The grounds will feature a large swimming pool with outdoor patio complete with grills and picnic area.

With about 30,000 students, the University of Alabama represents one of the larger campuses in the South, and a growth opportunity, according to the partners. Columbus, Ohio-based Edwards Cos. is a privately held holding company for numerous operating companies in student housing development and construction, multifamily and single-family residential development and construction, and land development.

Memphis-based Education Realty Trust Inc. is a REIT that owns or manages 54 communities with more than 33,500 beds within more than 10,500 units. For the fourth quarter of 2010, the company reported FFO of $5.5 million, compared to $7.3 million for the same period last year, or 9 cents a share compared with 13 cents a share, which it partly attributed to lower development services revenue. In its residential properties, the REIT reported a 2.1 percent increase in occupancies and a 1.5 percent increase in net rental rates for 4Q10 compared with a year ago.