Student housing company American Campus Communities acquired for nearly $13 billion

Joelle DiPaolo, News Reporter

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the April 26, 2022 flipbook.

A real estate investment company acquired American Campus Communities, a student housing company that owns several West Campus apartments, for $12.8 billion, according to an April 19 press release.

American Campus Communities owns 166 properties around college campuses throughout the United States, including 14 off-campus apartments in West Campus such as the Castilian, Callaway and 26 West. The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of this year, according to the press release.

Advertising sophomore Will Derden lives at American Campus-owned The Block in West Campus. He said he hopes the shift in ownership will lead to fewer management problems, such as elevators not being fixed in a timely manner. 

“That is a huge buyout, which makes me think that this is a well established organization that hopefully will know how to delegate their resources effectively and do a better job of organizing the staff and the management of different American Campus properties,” Derden said. 

Meg Foster, a radio-television-film and economics sophomore who lives at The Block, said she does not think the change in ownership will seriously affect the lives of students living there. 

“American Campus is already very large, so (I don’t see) it being bought out by a company influencing anything a ton,” Foster said. 

Jeffrey Kauth, senior vice president of global affairs for Blackstone, said in an email that Blackstone’s interest in American Campus Communities stemmed from its reputation in the student housing market. He said they hope to provide housing for an increasing number of students. 

“Student housing is a compelling sector due to growing enrollment at top universities in the U.S. as well as a shortage of quality student housing supply,” Kauth said in an email. “(Our capital) will enable ACC to invest in existing assets and create much-need new housing.”

Bill Bayless, CEO and co-founder of American Campus Communities, said in a press release that the resources and expertise of Blackstone will allow the company to grow and pursue new opportunities to enhance resident experiences. 

Kauth declined to comment on rent prices for American Campus Communities moving forward, but said Blackstone would continue to provide housing at a reasonable price.

“We hold ourselves and our operators to the highest standard of care and always put the well-being of our residents first,” Kauth said. “A big part of the college experience relates to the quality of available housing, and we have the experience necessary to ensure these communities provide the best living experiences possible.” 

Mechanical engineering sophomore Miles Mendiola said he worries about a larger company taking ownership because they could lose sight of individual students. 

“The bigger the company gets the more corporate it becomes,” Mendiola said. “If you’re getting absorbed into an even larger company, it’s going to become more and more corporate, which leads to more and more separation between what people would like and what they’re actually doing.” 

Mendiola said the acquisition could lead to better organization, but overall, his experience with American Campus Communities has not been terrible. 

“A lot of people moan and gripe about American Campus, but honestly, it’s not that bad,” Mendiola said. “It’s not the Hilton … it’s just a normal apartment.”