Case Study: Redevelopments
American Campus Communities has completed $6 billion in student housing developments, and of that, the company has invested $223 million in renovation work at student housing communities across the country in the last five years alone. These significant capital investments involve modernizing student accommodations, upgrading amenity and retail space, and enhancing community systems.
Universities across the nation have historical or iconic buildings that have significance to the institution and its students. ACC has provided solutions to renovating campus icons and creating modern accommodations that better serve university students, while preserving and improving the beloved building’s original aesthetics and value.
Four redeveloped communities—Fenn Tower at Cleveland State University, Manzanita Hall at Arizona State University, University Crossings at Drexel University, and The Castilian in Austin, Texas—exemplify ACC’s dedication to creating communities Where students love living. ®
Fenn Tower | Cleveland State University
In January 2004, Cleveland State University in Ohio hired American Campus Communities to renovate and manage the historic Fenn Tower high-rise. Originally constructed in 1929, Fenn Tower closed down in the1990s in need of repair.
ACC’s renovation design preserved the historical value of Fenn Tower while accommodating the needs of students. ACC identified spaces that could be renovated to restore their original usefulness, or fully converted to provide modern amenities. As a result, the building’s ballrooms were restored to serve as community spaces. Fenn Tower opened in August 2006 after an 18-month construction schedule totaling $34.4 million in project costs.
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- 2007 Preservation Award, Cleveland Restoration Society
- 2006 Recipient of the Cleveland Engineering Society Design and Construction Award for Excellence
| Arizona State University
As part of a longstanding partnership, Arizona State University engaged American Campus Communities in 2009 with the challenge of finding a way to save Manzanita Hall – an iconic 1960’s high-rise residence hall that had been a landmark on the Tempe, Ariz. campus. ASU faced the dilemma of either demolishing the building that was in poor condition or spending millions of dollars it didn’t have to update what were essentially obsolete accommodations.
ACC and its development team went to work on the problem in a way that honored the original aesthetic of the historic building while providing modern accommodations.
The improved Manzanita Hall was designed to serve as a gateway into the ASU Tempe campus and as such provide progressive design within a unique high-rise experience. Extensive renovations were completed on the building’s exterior, along with updates to the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. The project earned LEED Silver under the U.S. Green Building Council rating system.
The reconfiguration of space injects new life into the building, providing students and staff with a well-functioning building that promotes academic performance, collaboration, and community. The project opened in August 2013 with a total project cost of $48.5 million.
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- 2015 Student Housing Business Innovator Award – Best Renovation of Existing Dorm
- 2014 Student Housing Business Innovator Award – Most Creative Public/Private Financing
- 2014 Arizona RED Award – Merit for Iconic Project
- 2014 SCUP/AIA-CAE Awards National Honor Award for Excellence in Architecture
| Drexel University
Built in 1926 as a Pennsylvania Railroad office building, University Crossings, a 14-story, neoclassical building had been converted to off-campus residences in 2002. As a 260-unit, 1,016-bed off-campus community, the property historically served a variety of nearby universities.
In partnership with Drexel University, ACC was able to make a significant capital investment to modernize the building with upgraded amenities, entire unit upgrades and the addition of retail space, increasing its appeal with student renters for the long term while integrating the property within Drexel’s on-campus housing.
Improvements included the complete renovation and expansion of 13,000 square feet of office and amenity space to include modern amenities and resources for fitness, fun and academic success.The combination of upgraded units and amenities along with significant investment of $88.9 million project cost in the building systems allowed ACC to reposition the aging asset into a new, highly competitive student housing community.
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- 2015 Student Housing Business Innovator Award – Most Creative Public/Private Partnership
| Austin, Texas
Located across the street from the heart of The University of Texas at Austin (UT) campus, The Castilian is an icon in the West Campus market. Originally constructed in 1967, The Castilian is a full-service, 22-level high-rise, private residence hall.
After decades of use, The Castilian was in need of modernization to better serve today’s students, while making the property more operationally efficient. ACC acquired the Castilian in 2012 with the goal of renovating the community to create a modern live-learn environment that fosters social interaction while focusing on academic success.
Modernization work was extensive, including the replacement of the window system, plumbing and electrical fixtures and hardware, and all new furniture, paint and appliances. Additions to the community also included a wide variety of amenities and resources for socialization and academic achievement. ACC also created a centralized leasing center at Castilian that serves all of the company’s 4,000+ beds in West Campus. The renovation resulted in a vibrant, living-learning community designed with students in mind.
- 2016 Student Housing Business Innovator Award – Best Renovation of Existing Project