Our approach to student housing looks like none other. Campus Crest is structured on a vertically integrated platform that includes development, construction, real estate management, and asset management. This operating platform allows us to control asset quality, reduce cost, increase delivery speed, improve operating efficiency, and ultimately, drive value for stakeholders.
Vertical integration has made it possible for us to implement prototype construction, where repetition of product has resulted in smarter construction, consistent operational practices, and a hospitality brand model across the portfolio. Our construction strategy includes repetition and refinement of prototype, a captive general contractor and construction manager, and captive wholesale supply that results in a 15-20% cost savings, giving Campus Crest a strong market advantage.
The Campus Crest Asset Management (CCAM) team works and serves in an oversight role for property operations in addition to handling investment underwriting, capital management, management of asset performance, and investor relations.
WE DON’T MANAGE BUILDINGS. WE BUILD COMMUNITIES.
Building student housing communities means more than simply building physical community assets. For this reason, Campus Crest has always managed our own properties through our wholly owned Real Estate Management Company. Our approach to real estate management mirrors our approach to everything else: whatever it takes to give students an unparalleled lifestyle experience.
Campus Crest Construction and Facilities (CCC) has developed a reputation of delivering quality projects, built with great efficiency, at a cost that is unmatched in the industry. Our ability to successfully deliver proto-typical buildings at a 15-20% cost advantage across the United States is based upon a discipline of:
Repetition and refinement of building prototype
Centralized wholesale supply
Captive construction management
Training and developing a loyal base of regional and national subcontractor teams
In addition to project delivery, Campus Crest Construction manages the facilities program for our student housing assets, capitalizing on the natural synergies between these two functions that lead to cost savings and long-term asset preservation.
Campus Crest Development actively manages a robust pipeline of 80 sites with over 250 identified markets for future growth, and maintains a strong track record of delivering projects as a result of their targeted approach.
Execution within Campus Crest Development (CCD) is a local, regional and national effort. Local staff and consultants engage municipalities, neighborhood groups, and other interested parties to incorporate a broad range of perspectives into our developments. Local staff is then supported by a team of Regional Development Partners (RDPs) who understand the real estate dynamics within the region and the community, and act as a conduit between local staff and headquarters. Finally, within the home office, CCD provides support and direction to the regional and local effort while working with senior management on investment strategy and policy.
The development team moves through three stages prior to handing off a new student housing project to construction: site selection, investment underwriting, and entitlement.
Campus Crest Asset Management (“CCAM”) works closely with our in-house development group to underwrite each project to acceptable return levels. We develop a detailed financial model for each property, then review all areas of the underwriting presented by the development group to ensure that it achieves all goals from a risk and a return perspective. In addition to this, CCAM manages all underwriting processes with both our equity and debt partners for each pool of properties that we are financing.
CCAM works closely with a variety of both equity and debt providers to source the financing of each new construction cycle, as well as match up interim and permanent financing for our existing assets. In today’s markets, it is important to closely manage our weighted average cost of capital and make sure that we are capital efficient.
Finally, CCAM has developed long term relationships with certain financial resources that understand our business and contribute to the continued development of our underwriting quality.
Monitor Asset Performance
CCAM is the company’s watchdog for asset performance. Each asset is individually tracked to budget and benchmarked against other properties. We are focused on driving returns for both the company and its investors. CCAM is able to use this data each cycle to develop better forecasting models for both budgeting and new project underwriting.
CCAM is the conduit between our company and our debt and equity partners. In today’s world, we believe that you cannot provide enough information. We focus on developing and managing a regular reporting program, both internally and externally, that keeps all parties involved in our assets up to speed on our performance.
Campus Crest Real Estate Management is uniquely structured for our lifestyle-centric student housing approach to thrive. We use a centralized approach allowing the corporate office team to define the big picture goals for operations, sales, and marketing for the entire portfolio. Area sales and area operations teams then execute that vision for property operations, sales, and marketing in their specific geographic areas.
For each property, we have created a successful management structure comprised of professional managers and influential student leaders who help facilitate lifestyle, build community, and drive leasing.
Increasing profitability is a key measure for our performance. Campus Crest provides real-time data and specialized training to all of our managers—from the corporate office to property level—to help them maximize occupancy and lease revenue, control expenses, and excel in rent collection. Thanks to our training in hospitality management, lifestyle programming, and customer service, our resident retention is among the highest in the industry.
The success of Campus Crest’s vision for growing unique, thriving student communities depends on the powerful engine of our operations team. We’ve developed a best-practices system for delivering unsurpassed customer service, keeping properties in excellent condition, and meeting our residents’ needs—often before they even voice them.
The Campus Crest lifestyle sets us apart from everyone else in the industry. We’ve developed a unique resident life program that addresses the complete student, with meaningful opportunities for every aspect of college life. From crawfish boils to volleyball tournaments to charity walks and blood drives, our community events immerse residents in an environment where they can find their passion, give back to the community, build friendships, and enjoy their free time.
Every floor plan introduced to the construction field is the culmination of years of refinement, resulting in an extremely cost-efficient design. The process also provides the construction and leasing teams an opportunity to contribute to the resolution of design flaws or improve the unit for the eventual end-user before the next construction cycle begins. Most importantly, consistent construction techniques and pre-assembled building component packages help control cost and increase the predictability of construction delivery.
CCC controls the sourcing and delivery of building products in order to control project cost and timing. The proto-typical design approach of CCC ensures that all the building finishes and products are the same project to project. As a result, CCC develops tremendous buying power, which dramatically lowers cost and increases the predictability of product delivery.
CCC serves as the General Contractor and Construction Manager for its projects, which capitalizes on the prototypical building design and wholesale supply aspects of our construction business. This also gives CCC greater control over our projects to ensure quality and timely delivery.
CCC works hard to create mutually beneficial regional subcontractor relationships across the United States. We have developed a solid, reliable network of national and regional subcontractors that have been involved in building our projects for the past several years. The long-term partnerships, pre-assembled building component packages, and the prototype design of our student housing communities enable our subcontractors to deliver solid pricing and quality construction year over year.
Campus Crest Construction also oversees facilities management and maintenance of our student housing properties once an asset becomes operational. The Facilities team develops and oversees routine maintenance programs for the onsite maintenance staff to execute throughout the course of the year. The Facilities team also ensures that the assets remain consistent and uniform in appearance with particular attention to curb appeal. Finally, Facilities leverages the buying power of Campus Crest Construction to control the cost of ongoing capital expenditures related to property maintenance.
Site selection is driven by our investment strategy, which targets selected educational institutions and determines the acceptable distance to campus within a particular market. On an ongoing basis, Campus Crest identifies a combination of tier one and tier two markets for site selection. Once those markets have been identified, the team of RDPs works within an acceptable radius from campus to locate suitable, off-market sites fitting the current product suite being offered by Campus Crest Construction (CCC). Sites undergo an early-stage vetting process based on offering price, standard construction cost, standard operating costs, and a preliminary analysis of market rents and customer availability. If a site is approved based on those criteria, it moves to the next stage: investment underwriting.
During the investment underwriting process, our local staff and RDPs work with building officials to determine the nuances and cost of developing within the local jurisdiction. The Capital Markets Group sources potential funding partners and works with the Campus Crest Real Estate Management team to refine the market analysis and establish an acceptable rent range for our product. Concurrently, CCC leverages our in-house disciplines and third party design personnel to arrive at an accurate ‘out the door’ cost and timetable for the project. These efforts culminate with a meeting of our Investment Committee, who considers all of the facts and input by the various, in-house disciplines and makes a go or no-go decision on the deployment of capital. By the time final approval occurs, members of the senior team have physically been to the site, received input first-hand from each Campus Crest business line, reviewed the underwriting information, and ultimately, signed off on the project. The investment committee information is then turned over to the various business lines to jump start the creation of the development, construction and operating plan for each new investment, and CCD proceeds to the next stage of the process: entitlement.
Campus Crest Development invests considerable hours creating a customized site plan and development program for each market. Factored into each are the unique design elements required by the local professionals as well as any input derived from community and/or neighborhood members. Those are then incorporated into an iterative design process and balanced against the construction elements inherent to our building prototype—by which Campus Crest is able to achieve cost and time efficiency. Once we have developed a suitable development plan, and that plan has been signed off by the municipality, CCD works with the various professionals in each market to deliver a full set of plans to gain the necessary permits and other entitlements to deliver to Campus Crest Construction.