Student Housing Case Study: Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, VA – Client: 8 ½ Canal
Campus Advantage concluded that the Richmond student market had the depth to absorb the proposed project, given the fast-growing student population at VCU and the project’s superior location. The site was located in an up-and-coming area of the market, due to recent campus expansion. Additionally, the off-campus Richmond market lacked any purpose-built student product. The majority of the properties surveyed in the main student housing corridors had very limited amenities, especially those geared toward students, such as a residence life program or all-inclusive rates. 8 ½ Canal was the first purpose-built property to enter the Richmond market and offered a plethora of amenities. The property also introduced an abundance of four-bedroom apartments, a unit type only found in one other off-campus property.
Construction on 8 ½ Canal began in summer 2010 for a fall opening in 2011. The Campus Advantage team was once again engaged to perform the initial operations and lease-up of the property, pre-leasing the property to 100% before it opened in fall 2011. The fast lease-up and continued success of the property exhibits the desirability of purpose-built product in an untested market.
The building includes 160 units with 540 beds on six levels and parking on two levels. 8 ½ Canal is also an eco-friendly project which was designed with green principles in mind in accordance with the LEED accreditation system.