CHICAGO, IL. The Scion Group has completed the acquisition of seven student housing communities from American Campus Communities (ACC), in a directly negotiated transaction valued at approximately $175 million. The 5,096-bed portfolio includes properties serving students at James Madison University, the University of Florida, the University of Georgia and the University of Tennessee.
Scion completed the transaction in a joint venture with a private investment firm. The partners plan to reposition the properties through the investment of $16 million in upgrades across the portfolio, complemented by a rebranding program to highlight the physical improvements and capture expected operating and marketing synergies—a strategy that Scion has successfully implemented in several prior acquisitions.
The acquisition solidifies Scion’s position as the largest non-public owner/ operator of off-campus, purpose-built student housing communities in the US, and fourth largest student housing owner overall, following the three publicly-traded student housing REITs. The newly acquired properties are in the following markets:
James Madison University. The acquired portfolio includes three communities located in Harrisonburg, Virginia, serving students at James Madison University, previously named South View, Stone Gate and Campus Edge. JMU enrolls nearly 21,000 students and is nationally recognized for its academic quality, ranking as the top public masters-level university in the South by US News & World Report for 16 consecutive years. Scion will reposition the three communities under a new unified brand, “The Hills of Harrisonburg.”
University of Florida. Scion acquired a 1,044 bed community, formerly called The Estates, in Gainesville, serving students at the University of Florida. At nearly 50,000 students, is the eighth largest single-campus university in the United States and is ranked as a top-20 U.S. public university. Strategically situated less than a mile from the center of campus and adjacent to several other student housing communities, Scion is planning comprehensive apartment and common-area upgrades and will rebrand the community as “West 20.”
University of Georgia. The acquired portfolio includes two communities, formerly Lakeside and The Club, located in Athens and serving students at the University of Georgia, an internationally recognized institution with enrollment of over 34,500 students. Scion will invest in significant interior and exterior improvements and will rebrand the communities together as “The Park at Athens.” Taken together with its existing ownership of two other communities in Athens in a separate joint venture, Scion has become the largest owner of off-campus, purpose-built student housing in the University of Georgia market.
University of Tennessee. The acquisition includes the former University Heights in Knoxville, serving students at the University of Tennessee, with a current enrollment exceeding 27,000 students. The property is situated atop a hill with commanding views of both the university and downtown Knoxville, which Scion intends to accentuate through selected upgrades and a re-alignment of the property’s brand as “The Heights of Knoxville.”