The Opus Group® Demonstrates Resiliency Across Student Living Sector


The Opus Group (Opus) recently completed student living projects in Birmingham, Alabama, and Lawrence, Kansas, and construction is now underway for its next student living project in Richmond, Virginia. Despite uncertainty about the academic year and construction material delays amid the pandemic, Opus maintained its established timelines to deliver these key student living options and moved forward with its next project. According to RealPage, recent data shows that on-site occupancy rates remain high with some housing developments even experiencing an increase in traffic. This is largely attributed to nearby on-campus housing remaining reserved for quarantined students.

“Our integrated team proved to be pivotal in the successful planning and delivery of these student living projects,” said Ben ​Angelo, vice president of real estate development at Opus. “Alongside our partners, we were able to stay the course and provide the desired amenities that accommodate resident lifestyles. We’re pleased to help bring vibrancy to these communities and look forward to our next project in Richmond.”

Opus delivered Ascend Five Points South near the University of Alabama at Birmingham earlier this summer. The 17-story mixed-use development includes 198 residential units and 520 beds, ranging from junior studios to four bedrooms. Each unit is complete with full-size stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, simulated wood flooring and a washer and dryer. Residents have access to a fitness center, spa, study rooms and lounges, coffee bar, a clubroom with pool tables, large screen TVs and an outdoor amenity deck with a rooftop pool, grilling stations and panoramic views of the city.

Located at the corner of 20th Street S. and 10th Ave, this student living development is the first of its kind in the Five Points South area and was designed to meet the lifestyle needs of the student body. Retail space is available on the street level of the development.

Opus also recently completed Proxi Lawrence. Located in Lawrence, Kansas, just outside of the university’s campus, this mixed-use development offers 120 units with 330 beds and 8,200 square feet of ground level retail. Residents have access to a pool, fire pit, clubroom, private and group study rooms, a podcast booth and a fitness center with a spa and sauna. This is the first housing development in the city to implement Smart Code in the city's zoning code, allowing nearby access and encouraging public forms of transportation.

Lastly, Opus recently broke ground on its next student living project, Ascend Richmond, near the Virginia Commonwealth University campus. The 12-story development will have 168 units and 428 beds with a mix of studios to four-bedroom floor plans. Once complete, residents will be able to enjoy an outdoor terrace with a pool, an indoor fitness room and lounge areas and a second floor indoor-outdoor space. Additionally, there will be 82 parking spaces on the ground level as well as a basement garage. The student living project is located at the northeast corner of Broad and Lombardy with convenient access to public bus routes.

“The city of Richmond recently participated in an exercise designed to drive density and pedestrian activity along the Broad Street corridor,” said Dean Newins, senior vice president at Opus. “Known as the Pulse Corridor Plan, this transit oriented development strategy will help energize the area around our site as well as the entire commercial spine through the city. Specifically, this project will be a catalyst for the Allison Street Station area which encompasses our site.”

For Ascend Five Points South, Opus was the developer, Rabren General Contractors was the contractor, Myefski Architects was the design architect and architect of record and Creative License International was the interior designer.

For Proxi Lawrence, Opus was the developer, design-builder, interior designer and architect and structural engineer of record.

Both Ascend Five Points South and Proxi Lawrence were joint venture partnerships with The McKinney Fund.

For Ascend Richmond, Opus is the developer, interior designer and architect and structural engineer of record. Rabren General Contractors is the general contractor. This project is a joint venture partnership with Balboa Real Estate Partners.

About The Opus Group:

The Opus Group® is a family of commercial real estate development, construction and design companies headquartered in Minneapolis with offices and projects across the country. Opus operates as an integrated, multidisciplinary team with expertise in development, capital markets and finance; project management and construction; architecture, engineering and interior design. The Opus Group includes Opus Holding, L.L.C. and its operating subsidiaries: Opus Development Company, L.L.C., Opus Design Build, L.L.C. and Opus AE Group, L.L.C. Specializing in industrial, office, residential, student living, senior living, institutional and retail projects, The Opus Group has broad capabilities, deep experience and a proven design-build model that delivers solutions for customers on time and on budget. For more information, visit and follow @TheOpusGroup on Twitter and @theopusgroup on Instagram.