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Investors Are Keen on the South Loop's Student Housing Scene

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While other parts of the downtown area heat up with residential, hotel, and commercial highrises, one of the lesser-mentioned trends has been the steady growth of the student housing market on the southern side of downtown. Two historic buildings are getting the rehab-and-reuse treatment on Jackson and Van Buren streets, and an awful surface parking lot at State and Harrison is slated to become a new SAIC campus and dorm facility eventually. With at least a dozen universities within walking distance, it's no surprise that the market for giving their students a place to sleep is going strong.

However, it was a little surprising that just this month, two Columbia College-affiliated student housing properties have been bought and sold to investors. First, Crain's reported that the student apartment tower at 777 South State is being purchased for $85 million. Five days later, Crain's reveals that the Dwight Lofts facility, only a few blocks away, is being purchased for $105 million. The two purchases don't seem to be related, although both properties are privately owned but come with multi-year contracts for Columbia to lease all-or-most of the units. Crain's describes both as safe investments due to the contractual lock-in with Columbia, but it's not hard to wonder if there could be something bigger going on.
· Is a big change ahead for this South Loop dorm? [Crain's]
· Big South Loop dorm sells for $105 million [Crain's]
· Terrible South Loop Parking Lot to Become Part of SAIC Campus [Curbed Chicago]