Liv+ Gainesville

Location: Gainesville, Florida

University: University of Florida

LIv Plus Gainesville

increase in rent growth

pre-leased as of June 2022

organic conversions

new website users

The Challenge

In spring 2018, Campus Advantage partnered with Stark Enterprises to perform a market analysis and feasibility study for Liv+ Gainesville — a potential 618-bed student housing development near the University of Florida (UF) in Gainesville, Florida.

The Solution

The Campus Advantage consulting team visited the UF market, toured the subject site, and examined the commute from the site to campus. The team also spoke to more than 100 students on campus regarding the potential project in order to gauge insight regarding the location, desired amenities, and preferred transportation. Additional market conditions were analyzed, including the existing on- and off-campus housing supply, rental rates, concessions, enrollment trends, and the university’s plans for future growth. The team then compiled their findings and presented recommendations, which included a proposed unit mix, rental rates, common area amenities, apartment features, parking and utility inclusions, and marketing opportunities.

Stark Enterprises retained Campus Advantage for development and design consulting during the development’s planning process, and for the property lease-up. The consulting team determined that the market had approximately 3,330 beds delivering in the same year as the development, which was the most significant increase in supply across all student housing markets, and the country was in the midst of a global pandemic. Undergraduate enrollment declined by 1.3%, or 474 students, from 2019 to 2020, and the average market occupancy decreased by 10% from the previous year to 86%.

Campus Advantage’s affiliate marketing partner, Catalyst, worked closely with Stark Enterprises to follow the Liv+ brand for the Gainesville property that was established when Liv+ Arlington opened in fall 2018. To promote the Liv+ brand in the Gainesville community, Catalyst used both digital and traditional media, including a custom website, a brochure, a sales sheet, a flyer, and a paper system. In addition, marketing strategies were utilized via search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing, social media marketing, and geofence campaign services.

Based on the market assessment and preferred amenities insight, the Liv+ Gainesville amenities package included a fully equipped indoor/outdoor clubhouse, the market’s first 24-hour Fresh Market, indoor and outdoor fitness centers, a sparkling pool, two study lounges on every floor, an outdoor courtyard featuring a Jumbotron, a putt-putt course, firepits, several outdoor games, a dog park, and a dog wash.

The Results

Despite extremely difficult conditions for a new development to be entering the market, Liv+ Gainesville opened in fall 2020 and boasted a robust and inviting amenity package, recommended as a focus by the Campus Advantage team.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect many student housing markets across the country, and despite the additional 783 beds that entered the Gainesville off-campus market in 2021, Liv+ achieved 100% occupancy for fall 2021 with a 6.8% increase in rent growth, or $52 per bed. As of June 2022, the property is 100% pre-leased for the upcoming leasing year. Since early 2019, SEO contributed to 3,965 organic conversions on the website, and a Google cost-per-click campaign garnered 24,147 new users to the website.