With Money In Hand Education Realty Trust Starts $35M Student Housing Project in Pennsylvania

Mansfield, Pa.--Financing for the development of a new student housing project at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Penn., has just closed and, with, funds in place for the $35 million endeavor, developer Education Realty Trust Inc. has commenced construction.

Mansfield, Pa.–Financing for the development of a new student housing project at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Penn., has just closed and, with, funds in place for the $35 million endeavor, developer Education Realty Trust Inc. has commenced construction.

Designed by WTW Architects, the four-story student housing property will encompass 312 units to accommodate an aggregate 634 beds. The building will consist of fully furnished two and four-bedroom domiciles for the housing of freshman and sophomores in an atmosphere with amenities–a multi-purpose room and a television lounge–incorporated to breed community interaction.

The development constitutes the first phase of Mansfield University’s Housing Master Plan, which is being spearheaded by Mansfield Auxiliary Corp., a non-profit organization of area business leaders and former members of the school’s administration. The organization will own the property and hold a ground-lease with the university. Following an RFP, Mansfield Auxiliary tapped Education Realty to develop the project and assist the organization with securing financing, which came in the from of tax-exempt bonds purchased by Regions Bank of Birmingham, Alabama.

Demand has remained fairly solid, so the student housing market has been weathering the financial crisis better than such commercial real estates sectors as office and retail, but obtaining financing is still no simple feat. “There were definitely some challenges through 2009 and early 21010 that were economically and financially driven,” Charles Harris, senior vice president with Education Realty Trust, tells MHN. But now a lot of properties have been financed through 2010 through the equity bond model and conventional lending. Banks are expecting more equity and there are fewer providers of financing on tax bonds, but there has been improvement. If it seems like the spigot was off last year, now it’s been turned on; it’s not flooding, but projects are happening and deals are being done.”

Education Realty has brought Massaro Corporation aboard as general contractor and expects the student housing development to open its doors in January 2012.

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