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Dubai's Safanad Scoops Up 910-Bed Student Housing Complex Near UMD Campus

Towers at University Center Goes for $69.5 Million After 2012 Foreclosure
January 31, 2018
Dubai’s Safanad Limited has closed on a suburban Maryland student housing complex that fell into foreclosure during the recession.

Safanad paid LNR Partners, the Miami Beach-based special servicer, $69.5 million, or $285,000 per unit, for the 244-unit, 910-bed Towers at University Town Center in Hyattsville, MD. The two 16- and 17-story towers, at 6515 Belcrest Rd., are about a half-mile south of the University of Maryland, and six miles north of Howard University.

Safanad partnered with managing partner Vie Management of Miami Beach on the deal. CBRE's student housing group handled the sale for LNR.

Safanad, whose U.S. operations are based in New York, will carry out a $5 million upgrade program to renovate unit interiors and add enhanced amenities - a key element of student housing these days. The property is a mix of two- to four-bedroom apartments, with each bedroom having its own bath. The amenities at the property include a swimming pool, a business center and a gym. Safanad plans a rooftop lounge as part of the renovation program.

The Towers opened in 2006 just as the rental housing market began to crater. By 2012, the local developer had defaulted on his loan and the special servicer of the mortgage, LNR, foreclosed. Now, as student housing and the apartment market in general have surged back to health, LNR, a subsidiary of Starwood Property, has made its $39.5 million investment back and then some.

Unlike some student housing properties, the Towers are not under contract to any one particular university and look to draw tenants from the University of Maryland, Howard, Georgetown University and the smaller schools in the area.

Safanad’s most notable previous student housing deal was a 2005 recapitalization of an eight property, 6,600-bed portfolio of properties owned by Aspen Heights, of Austin, and partners. The company now boasts a student housing portfolio worth more than $800 million, encompassing 11,000 beds, according to the company’s press release.

Please see CoStar Comp #4108900 for more information on the transaction.

John Doherty, Multifamily Reporter  CoStar Group   
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