Landmark Properties, Harrison Street Begin Building 774-Bed Student-Housing Development

When the time comes for University of Arizona students in Tucson to hit the books for the fall 2013 semester, they will have a new off-campus option in the form of the Retreat at Tucson.

February 14, 2012
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

When the time comes for University of Arizona students in Tucson to hit the books for the fall 2013 semester, they will have a new off-campus option in the form of the Retreat at Tucson. Development partners Landmark Properties and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital L.L.C. have just commenced construction of the 774-bed project, which will be an upscale, cottage-style residential destination for students attending the university, located one mile to the north. And the Retreat is not your grandfather’s college apartment.

“We’re seeing more cottage-style properties being built, and Landmark is out on the forefront, as it were, for student housing development,” Chris Epp, co-director of Apartment Realty Advisors’ National Student Housing Group, told Commercial Property Executive.

The 21-acre Retreat will encompass 183 domiciles containing anywhere from two bedrooms to six-bedrooms, a rarity among off-campus offerings. With a design following Landmark’s unique Retreat Student Cottage concept, the project will feature mini-homes with amenities that read like those found in a resort-style condominium. From gourmet kitchens with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances to a swimming pool with tanning ledges and cabanas, the Retreat will have what the joint venture partners describe as the most extensive amenity package in the City of Tucson’s student housing market.

It’s a different era in student housing; high-end extras are practically a prerequisite. Landmark and Harrison Street have designed the Retreat to meet those demands, offering additional bonuses like a 10,000-square-foot clubhouse with a private spa. And it’s all available in what is essentially a community of little houses.

“Some of the things that they’ve implemented are just far more advanced than what anybody else is doing at this point,” Epp said. “I think it’s going to serve them well. It’s one thing to talk about it and wax philosophical about it, but when you are in those units and at those communities, it’s completely different from anything you’ve ever been in and I think that’s really the driving force behind it. Students say, ‘How can I not want to live here?'”

Collegiate Construction, a Landmark affiliate, is on the ground at the Retreat as general contractor. Wells Fargo has provided financing for development, which is one of several projects that Landmark and Harrison Street will bring online this year. The partners’ current construction activities will yield an aggregate 2,818 beds across the country, and housing communities in the pipeline will produce an additional 5,000 beds.