By Jeffrey Steele, Contributing Writer
Salisbury, Md.—Almost 700 students will be accommodated at a new student housing community to be built steps from the Salisbury University campus in Salisbury, Md.
GMH Capital Partners announced in mid-January that it had acquired the more than 23-acre parcel, adjacent to a 27-plus-acre parcel on which it retains an option for a future development phase. The land recently acquired is earmarked for a 696-bed housing community featuring an array of first-class amenities.
The publicly traded student housing entity of GMH Communities Trust (GCT) was sold in 2008 to American Campus Communities in a multi-billion dollar transaction that encompassed 60,000 beds in 29 states.
A provision of that sale held that several executives of GCT who are now employed by GMH Capital Partners would be restricted from pursuing any student housing investments, a restriction that has since expired.
Over the past several years, Salisbury University enrollment has ballooned from 6,400 to 8,600 students, and out-of-state applications have soared by 30 percent in the last five years. The campus infrastructure has been expanded markedly over the past several years to keep pace with this growth. The $65 million Teacher Education and Technology building was added, as was the $55 million Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, the $45 million Gull Square complex of apartments and shops, and an 800-vehicle campus parking facility.
Salisbury University was named second among five Maryland schools that made the Kiplinger’s Personal Finance list of the 100 best values in public education. Located on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the university consistently ranks in the top 10 percent of public and private institutions nationwide, according to rankings by U.S. News & World Report, the Princeton Review, and others.
In announcing the land acquisition, GMH Capital Partners president Gary M. Holloway Jr. said he and colleagues were “thrilled” to return to student housing.
“As one of the pioneers of college community development and management, we are excited about re-entering the market,” he added.
“Salisbury is an exceptional university experiencing dramatic growth in student enrollment. The new Salisbury community will be a great addition to our diverse portfolio of multifamily housing and niche market investments.”
Newtown Square, Penn.-based GMH Capital Partners specializes in the areas of acquisitions, construction, asset services and investment sales. It and previous GMH entities have developed a variety of housing developments around the United States to meet the need of college, military, multifamily, retail and commercial markets.