Ocean West Capital Partners has returned to campus with the acquisition of an 18-storey student housing tower at a flagship Texas university.
The California-based fund manager led an investment group comprising South Korean firms KIS and Tiger Alternative Investors, as well as Georgia-based student housing developer Landmark Properties, in buying the 567-bed Moontower at the University of Texas at Austin.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but developer Lincoln Ventures, which sold the property to the Korean-backed consortium, estimated the tower’s cost of construction at $63.8 million, according to public records.
The purchase is the latest pickup in the Korean-backed consortium’s US student housing shopping spree, following a March deal to acquire a 663-unit facility at the University of California at Davis from Greystar Real Estate Partners.
Over the past 15 months, the joint venture has acquired seven student US housing assets totalling more than 4,400 beds and $800 million in value. The team also gained a foothold in the Texas industrial market with the September purchase of a 2.3 million square foot (213,677 square metre) distribution and warehouse facility in Dallas.
“Ocean West continues to value the partnership it has formed with Tiger, KIS and Landmark, and we look forward to new opportunities to grow our portfolio together,” principal Ryan Tucker said in a release. “The Moontower asset is truly one of the premier trophy assets in the country, and we strongly believe in this market and this university. We have great expectations for this asset going forward.”
Construction at Moontower was completed before UT Austin’s fall 2020 semester, and the building opened at nearly 100 percent occupancy.
The crown jewel of the University of Texas system, UT Austin has the seventh-largest enrolment (over 50,000 students) among US public universities and is one of the state capital’s biggest employers. The Moontower high-rise is located just west of the campus, and many units feature unobstructed views of the 307-foot-tall UT Tower, the school’s iconic main building.
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Moontower offers units ranging from 396 square feet to as much as 1,704 square feet. The property targets “always-on-the-go, industrious students” who want all the amenities they need in one place. Perks include a rooftop pool and lounge, spin and yoga studios, a 24-hour fitness centre, a coffee bar and private study rooms.
The Moontower name alludes to a landmark lighting tower and meeting spot in the 1993 teen comedy Dazed and Confused, a film that was shot in the Austin area and featured a breakout performance by future Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey.
The property touts various floor-plan configurations nicknamed after McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Janis Joplin and other famous Austin residents.