Building a Successful Student Housing Complex


​With five student housing projects currently under construction, we’re seeing a continued demand for amenity-rich housing options near campuses across the country. Read what our experts have to say about the various aspects of these unique projects.

It takes one walk through a new student housing building to know that they aren’t quite like anything else on the market. It’s no surprise then that constructing them brings its own unique aspects. 

Planning Early to Accommodate Delays

When we work on a student housing project, we have to keep in mind that the end date does not change. Delivering late is not an option because an entire year of rental income would be lost if the building doesn’t open on time.

With our firm end date in mind, we project the critical path of the schedule to be prepared to deal with any delays that could occur. History suggests there will be some delays!

We also conduct a detailed review of the competition, including other projects in the development stage, to make sure our finished product meets or exceeds the market.

Staging Construction

We manage the critical path established in the beginning – the activities that will directly result in a delay if they are late. These have our utmost attention as the project is planned and executed. This can be complicated, especially as we factor in unpredictable weather and, in particular, the extreme conditions that can occur in markets such as Minnesota.

Regional Differences

Student housing is a very regional product. Some of this is driven by market expectations, real estate valuations, environment and more. An example is the sprawling garden-style product you see in southern cities with large resort-style exterior pools. This is driven by competitive product, lower real estate values and warm-weather climates. In an urban cold weather climate like at the University of Minnesota, taller structures with less exterior amenity space are common.

There are other regional differences related to construction type, costs and the labor market. Union controlled labor markets tend to feature more prefabrication with panelized wall construction built by local crews. Non-union markets tend toward field-framed (stick-built) construction, sometimes with travelling crews.

No matter the market, all new projects feature more amenities and a higher level of quality than ever before!

Our experienced construction project managers work collaboratively with our development, architecture, engineering and interior design experts to create award-winning student housing complexes. Their student housing experience includes projects such as ArborBLU, The Foundry, Venue at Dinkytown, Ivy on Fourteenth, Varsity Quarters, The Station on Washington and Stadium Village Flats

Read more about some of our construction approach to student housing and other residential projects in our blog post Construction Trend Brings Time and Cost Savings to Projects.