Nelson Partners is a real estate investment firm specializing in developing, buying, and managing high-quality purpose-built student housing properties. Their portfolio includes some of the best student housing communities in some of the best locations on campuses across North America.
In this article, we’ll look at how Nelson Partners goes about creating these vibrant and exciting properties that provide students with a place they want to live while having a positive impact on surrounding neighborhoods and the universities themselves.
Nelson Partners starts by acquiring a site and putting together a team. The first step is to find a property with the right location, which includes being close enough to campus for commuting students while also being far enough away to be quiet and peaceful.
The next step is to figure out what size of the community they need. There might already be a property in some locations, so all they need to do is buy it, while other times, Nelson Partners will have to start from scratch. The company takes a long-term view and understands the importance of building a brand for their community, taking a bit of time to do things right.
After acquiring a site, Nelson Partners sets out to fund the project and manage the design and construction. The company is very hands-on and often brings its architects and engineers who specialize in student housing designs. They like to build on a large scale which gives them more efficiency, allowing Nelson Partners to achieve economies of scale that they can pass along to students as lower rental rates.
The last step – before signing residents to occupy the community – is to get it fully operational. Nelson Partners hires a full-time management team, which it calls resident advocates, that are on hand to create a vibrant atmosphere within the property. These teams are given great training and support from top leadership at Nelson Partners to quickly get up to speed on how each community is expected to operate.
The result is a property that looks great, has appealing amenities and features, and offers students value when it comes to rental rates. Because of their depth of experience in the industry, Nelson Partners understands that student housing properties continuously need to evolve with changing demands from modern-day students.
Challenges in the Industry
Companies in the student housing industry face several challenges. One is that it’s an increasingly competitive space which means developers have to constantly innovate and improve their properties while also not getting ahead of themselves when it comes to things like overbuilding.
Another challenge that Nelson Partners sees every day is the need to upgrade and improve the type of experience students constantly have when living on a property. It can be a costly process, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it because happy students are good for business and also – in many cases – will go out of their way to refer friends and family members who might be looking for places to live.