Equus Sells 330-Unit Downtown Chicago Student Housing

Equus Capital Partners, a private equity real estate fund manager, has sold a 330-unit student housing facility in Chicago for $58.5 million to a JV of Atlas Real Estate Partners, Marc Real Residential and Angelo, Gordon and Co.

Equus Capital Partners, Ltd., a private equity real estate fund manager, has sold a 330-unit student housing facility in Chicago for $58.5 million to a joint venture of Atlas Real Estate Partners, Marc Real Residential and Angelo, Gordon and Co.

“Equus has a 25-year history as a value-add owner/operator, so when we purchased this property in 2003 we immediately initiated a strategy of converting this conventional market-rate apartment building into an 882-bed student housing community,” Greg Curci, vice president at Equus, told Commercial Property Executive. “This conversion to student housing led to an immediate increase in NOI.”

Located at 2 East 8th St., in the heart of Chicago’s South Loop, the 28-story high-rise facility is proximate to Columbia College, Roosevelt University and more than 20 other schools. It’s comprised of 882 beds and includes 20,000 square feet of first floor retail and a four-story parking garage.

During its ownership, Equus executed a number of significant capital improvement, which allowed it to secure a five-year master-lease with Columbia College for 60 percent of the beds.

“This helps provide a degree of stability to the property’s income, which helps take some burden off of the leasing teams and makes the property more financeable,” Curci says. “Not many master-lease secured student housing communities come available in the core of first-class cities like Chicago.”

According to Curci, student housing has fared very well in this market and he doesn’t believe the current sequester will have any effect on the student housing market.

An affiliate of Equus acquired 2 East 8th Street as part of a three-property portfolio in 2003. In this sale, the seller was represented by Chris Bancroft and Chris Epp of ARA Student Housing Group and Susan Lawson and Todd Stofflet of ARA Chicago.

At the time of sale, the property was 96 percent leased.

Equus’ portfolio now consists of more than 24 million square feet of office, retail, student housing, and industrial properties and nearly 18,000 apartment units in more than 70 communities located throughout the United States.