Industry Trend: repositioning commercial projects

Tocci Stock

As endowments fall and operating costs rise, universities struggle to accommodate more incoming students and meet the demands for greater variety in housing options. As it is, colleges and universities have the ability to house just 25% of the US student population in university-supplied housing. On top of that, student enrollments have a history of actually rising during recessions, as mid-career professionals lose jobs and/or go back to school in order to cultivate new skills and qualifications.

By approaching private developers to invest in student housing projects, universities can expand and diversify the options for incoming students. Mindful of industry trends, commercial developers (especially in urban areas) may also have the expertise to educate the administration about new technologies and approaches, strategize financing, or offer unique advice the schools may otherwise not receive.

In today’s recession, projects that can be bonded based on projected revenues such as dormitories or cafeterias are more likely to be pursued than administrative or classroom buildings that may not be profitable in the long run. Commercial developers with experience in creating mixed-use projects have a tremendous opportunity to partner with institutions and build innovative, economical housing projects. Tocci is working on several such opportunities and our planning staff is ready to help meet this growing need.

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