Student Housing Business

JAN-FEB 2018

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

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COMPANY PROFILE January/February 2018 80 T TEXLA Housing Partners is a homegrown suc- cess story — a small company that has made a name for itself as an owner and operator spe- cializing in property turnarounds and that can expertly change and adapt to different cycles in the business. Husband and wife team Roger and Sandy Phillips founded TEXLA in 2009 after working in and around student housing for 15 years. In the mid-1990s, the Phillipses were work- ing with a group of high net worth real estate investors buying multifamily properties along the Interstate 10 corridor from Lake Charles, Louisiana, to Baton Rouge. The investors acquired a property just south of the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge. "That was our first taste of student housing," says Roger Phillips, who serves as principal and CEO of TEXLA Housing Partners. "We later acquired some assets in Lake Charles, Louisiana, home of McNeese State University, that gave us more experience. It allowed us to test the waters from an operations standpoint with student housing." The properties were conventional multifamily, in a time when that was more common in university towns. The investment group eventually purchased a couple thousand units of student housing, selling the portfo- lio in 2000. When that sale occurred, the Phillipses sold themselves out of their roles at the company. Sandy Phillips went to work with Ambling University Development on a project in Lafayette, Louisiana. Roger Phillips also went to work for Ambling on the public-private partnership side of the business. He later worked for JPI in Dallas, and then worked at American Campus Communities and Campus Living Villages. In the wake of the recession, the Phillipses went out on their own, launching TEXLA Housing Partners, which is based in the Dallas suburb of Frisco. "We had been through the ups and downs with larger organiza- tions, and we had seen how they ebb and flow with market cycles," says Roger Phillips. "We didn't want to be in a corporate environment, and by that point we had spent 10 years in student housing exclusively; we knew that is where we belonged and that was where we brought the most value." At the start, Roger Phillips wore a variety of hats. He consulted on potential public-private partnerships; performed market studies for student housing buyers and sellers; and evalu- ated properties for owners. Sandy Phillips, meanwhile, focused on management and operations, run through subsidiary company PM Group. "We really did all things student," Roger Phillips says. "We wanted to see where the business would take us." In April, 2010, the opportunity presented itself to acquire a property that was original- ly developed by The Dinerstein Company in Oxford, Mississippi. The 492-bed project was acquired for $6.7 million when the property was 27 percent leased for the following fall. The owner was in financial straits; Phillips put together an investor group to acquire the community and closed in April 2010. The partnership invested $1.2 million in capital upgrades to the interior and exterior of the project over the next two-year period; occu- pancy reached 99 percent by fall 2011. In 2014, TEXLA received a supplemental loan on the property for $11 million, effectively allowing a return of the owners' original equity and more. The property was sold in September 2017. After that original success story, Roger Reloading and Retooling TEXLA Housing Partners has made a reputation for itself with property turnarounds. But, ever the flexible company, TEXLA is seeking new opportunities on the heels of selling part of its portfolio. By Randall Shearin VerTex, a joint venture between TEXLA, Vermillion Student Housing and Harrison Street, purchased Element near Sacramento State University, in December 2015. Following a turnaround, the JV sold the 792-bed project in September 2017. SANDY PHILLIPS COO, Texla Housing Partners ROGER PHILLIPS Principal and CEO, TEXLA Housing Partners

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