Automatic for the students: University housing complex sells

OC Ventures, a REIT that specializes in student housing, bought the 482-bed Automatic Lofts in the West Loop

410 South Morgan Street and Empire Square Group's Guy Nesdale (LinkedIn, Google Maps)
410 South Morgan Street and Empire Square Group's Guy Nesdale (LinkedIn, Google Maps)

Another large student complex changed hands in the West Loop this year, in an area that has benefited from the steady rise in enrollment at the nearby University of Illinois at Chicago.

Chicago-based real estate investment trust OC Ventures paid $51 million for the Automatic Lofts, according to Crain’s. The property, which has 142 units with 482 beds, is in a century-old building at 410 S. Morgan St., on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans are to update the fitness center, lobby and furniture, according to the report.

It marks OC Ventures’ sixth student housing acquisition and first in the Midwest, according to Multifamily Biz.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

The seller was a joint venture of JMG Realty and Empire Square Group. The duo paid $41.5 million for the complex in 2015. The recent sale price was 23 percent more than they paid, but still well below the $65 million it had been marketed at in November 2018.

Student housing demand in the West Loop remains strong, primarily because the University of Illinois has experienced a 15 percent rise in enrollment since 2014.

Earlier this year, NB Private Capital purchased the 477-bed Tailor Lofts building about a block away on Peoria Street for $60 million. It houses mostly university students. [Crain’s] — Jacqueline Flynn