Student Housing Business

JAN-FEB 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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RETAIL January/February 2018 78 includes a mix of regional, local and national tenants. The national tenant is typically more commu- nity serving. You can't focus solely on the student — especially the students within your project — and you can't focus purely on the community because it is within a student housing community." "The really successful projects are working to appeal to both the residents within the community, the overall student population, the overall university commu- nity including faculty and staff, and the surrounding population that live within the community at large," continues Talbot. "You really need to be able to have retail that is appealing to all of those groups to be successful." "Fast casual food, and beverage and the offshoots thereof tend to do well in student housing proj- ects," says Batsell of ACC. "Any- thing that is consumable seems to do better. I would say 60 to 70 percent of our retail is made up of food users and a lot of that is driven by the fact that students seem to have an unlimited budget when it comes to food." Stein of MSC University agrees. "On average, the retailers that work best in a student housing property are food and beverage users," he says. Retailers are also becoming more attracted to opening on and adjacent to college campuses. In the past few years, Target has opened small-format stores on college campuses across the coun- try. "Our stores range in size from 12,000 to 30,000 square feet and are on or near college campuses where there's typically high den- sity, few nearby retail options and a demographic that already has high affinity for the Target brand," says Laurie Mahowald, Target's vice president of real estate. "All of our campus stores are near student housing, though many are located directly in mixed-use developments alongside student housing, such as our stores near the University of Florida, Gaines- ville and University of Southern California." "Our teams spend a lot of time talking to our guests before open- ing a store to be sure we're creat- ing a relevant shopping experi- ence that will fit the needs and preferences of the surrounding community," continues Mahow- ald. "For a store on or near a college campus, we know we're catering to a large student popu- lation, but we're also mindful of the neighbors who will also call that particular Target 'their' store. We consider that mix in every- thing we do — from the location we choose, to the way our teams design the store and the assort- ment — so we can meet the needs of both groups, and create a wel- coming and convenient shopping experience for all. For instance, when we opened our store on the University of Minnesota campus, we adjusted our assortment of bed sheets to match the uniquely sized beds provided by student housing in the same building." Future Development In the future, it is likely that we will continue to see a mix of uses in student housing developments both on- and off-campus. "Proj- ects that are proximate to campus and have demand drivers beyond the residents living above will continue to be strategic retail loca- tions," says Wiedner of Core Spac- es. "We are seeing an increased interest from several national retailers that recognize the buying power of the student population. Retail, beyond the student hous- ing industry, is focusing on the pedestrian experience, and getting into a 'Main and Main' location on campus is becoming a much bigger focus for them. Restaurants will always be popular, but we will continue to see more service related businesses and grocery concepts." Target is currently working on expanding its presence around universities. "We're always exploring opportunities to bring Target into new areas so we can serve new guests," says Mahow- ald. "In 2018, we've announced plans to open 30 new small-for- mat stores — putting us on track to operate more than 130 small- format stores by the end of 2019. As we grow our store base across the country, you can certainly expect we'll announce more new stores near college campuses in the future." "Student housing and retail are a shared space where both the consumer and the retailer co-exist, which can form a strong rela- tionship between the two," she continues. "Operationally, the more retailers and student hous- ing developers know about each other, such as having clear under- standing of expectations, timing and requirements on both sides, the better it works." "I think we are at a stage in mixed-use student housing where municipalities are realizing that every location that is great for student housing is not necessar- ily great for retail," says Barton of EdR. "A number of developments across the country have vacant retail, which was forced on them through zoning code. At the end of the day, neither a city nor a developer gets to determine that a location is good for retail; the market does. I believe we are all realizing that and I hope what we will see in the future is smarter retail, more thoughtful retail, but not necessarily more retail." At the end of the day, one other thing retail does is provide stu- dents with more opportunities to connect with others and the com- munity itself. "When you go back to school for alumni weekend, and you want to connect with friends, it's cool to return to the places you used to spend time at during those years," says Stein of MSC University. "Retail allows you to re-live that experience. Chances are, when your parents have taken you to the university they used to go to throughout your life, they've talked about the retail — the res- taurants they went to, the places where they went to have a drink, where they went to celebrate a team win, where they went to mourn a loss. Retail is where peo- ple share experiences. It's a real- ly powerful thing to think about what it can do as part of that life cycle of student experience. We really believe that it can be some- thing that can help the maturation of this population." SHB The Standard Gainesville by Landmark Properties offers retail space occupied by tenants, including Target, near the University of Florida. " We are seeing an increased interest from several national retailers that recognize the buying power of the student population. — Andrew Wiedner, Chief Investment Officer, Core Spaces

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