Student housing complex near Columbia University trades for $84M

Investor demand surging with students back on campus

Student housing complex near Columbia University trades for $84M
415 West 120th Street with TriHill Management's Chris DeAngelis (Northport Photo)

With the return to campus helping to jumpstart the student housing market, developers of a newly completed building near Columbia University sold the property for $84 million.

TriHill Management and Pebb Capital sold the 80-unit Monarch Heights building to a foreign high net worth individual, people familiar with the sale told The Real Deal.

The developers completed the building at 415 West 120th Street last year, when the university’s campus was shut down due to the pandemic. The building is now nearly fully leased as students have returned for the academic year.

A representative for Chris DeAngelis’ TriHill Management could not be immediately reached for comment. A Cushman & Wakefield team of Adam Spies, Robert Shapiro and Travis Prince brokered the sale.

New York-based Timberline Management partnered with the buyer on the deal.

The building sits a block away from Columbia’s campus and has 153 beds. The university has more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students but only has enough on-campus housing for 5,600 of them, meaning most students live off-campus.

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The 175 largest universities across the country can only house about 21 percent of the undergraduate students on-campus, according to marketing materials from Cushman & Wakefield, which brokered the sale of the Monarch Heights building. 

Investors spent $2.5 billion in the first half of the year buying up student housing properties, according to JLL. That’s up from $1.7 billion during the same period last year, but slightly below the nearly $3 billion spent in the first half of 2019.

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Many were concerned that student housing values would plummet when the pandemic turned schools remote. But rent collections remained high as many students chose to live in their private apartments while attending remote classes.

Major investors are pouring into what had been considered a niche asset class.

Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust recently announced a $784 million partnership with Landmark Properties to buy and recapitalize a 5,400-bed portfolio.