After being marketed for sale on April 29 last year, University Courtyard apartments were sold for $20.4 million to RISE Residential on Dec. 22.
Vice President for University Advancement Brian Benchoff said in an email that University Courtyard was provided by The Ohio University Foundation when it was needed for off-campus housing. With the availability of more housing options, The OU Foundation felt it was time to “retire the debt on the facility.”
“The property sale proceeds, along with a portion of Housing for Ohio’s existing cash balances, will be used to retire Housing for Ohio’s outstanding bonds, which total $23.375M,” Benchoff said in an email. “Any remaining cash surplus will be distributed to the Foundation and applied to the unrestricted fund.”
OU did not profit from the sale.
“This is an exciting time for University Courtyard,” Kris Pyle, who has served as the general manager of University Courtyard since 2008, said in an email. “RISE is a national leader in student housing development and management and we are excited to be a part of their growing portfolio.”
RISE Residential's brand manager Fania Braaf did not respond for comment.
The complex was built in 2001 and maintained by a branch of The OU Foundation known as Housing for Ohio, which was created November 1999. The complex has 580 beds.
Benchoff said in an email that in recent academic years University Courtyard saw a relative increase in occupancy: 80 percent during 2013, 78 percent during 2014, 81 percent during 2015 and 88 percent during 2016. Revenue also saw a relative increase in recent fiscal years: $3.4 million in 2013, $3.3 million in 2014, $3.4 million in 2015 and $3.6 million in 2016.
The five University Courtyard buildings are currently undergoing renovations that began at the end of January. Two buildings have been completed, renovations on a third are underway, and Pyle said the goal is for all the buildings to be completed by the end of July.
Pyle said in an email that an updated and expanded fitness center, outdoor kitchen area with barbeque grills, new “highly requested” yoga room and improved wireless internet are among the plans.
RISE Residential's remodification of the apartments includes new paint, stainless steel appliances, vinyl plank flooring, large-capacity washers and dryers and new furniture for common areas. Two model apartments received changes and are open for touring.
“University Courtyard is in great shape but we are excited for the upgrades we have coming which will keep our community competitive in the market and will give our residents the best,” Pyle said in an email. "(We) expect to see minimal impact on leasing costs."
Harry White, who served as chair of the Housing for Ohio, Inc. Board since 2001 and is a former member of The OU Foundation Board of Trustees, said in an email the sale of University Courtyard was a goal from the start. While providing off-campus housing was a primary goal, a secondary goal was to stimulate a profitable market.
"With the improvement of the student housing market as discussed above, the time was right,” White said in an email. “Appraisals were obtained; bids were solicited; proposals from qualified and acceptable potential buyers and an appropriate price and terms were negotiated.”
Benchoff said in an email that Housing for Ohio, Inc. will dissolve since it “existed for the sole purpose of operating University Courtyard Apartments.”
"The entity is not officially closed, yet, as we're still wrapping up final transactions," OU spokesman Daniel Pittman said in an email. "However, at this time we anticipate closing the entity ... on or before June 30."