Multi-Housing News has exclusively learned that Core Spaces, a residential real estate developer, owner and operator, has formed a joint venture with Tom Winkopp Development, to create one of the largest privately-owned, off-campus student developments in the U.S. The project, with development costs estimated at more than $200 million, will eventually have 4,000 beds in a variety of housing styles built around a 140-acre, walkable student village near Clemson University.
The first phase will feature 900 beds and is expected to deliver by August 2024 in time for the 2024-2025 academic year, said Joe Gatto, managing director of acquisitions at Core Spaces. Core Spaces acquired the property from Tom Winkopp Development, which will remain part of the project as a joint venture partner.
JLL Capital Markets worked on behalf of the joint venture between the two companies. The JLL team was led by Senior Director Teddy Leatherman and Directors John Gavigan and Warren Johnson.
The project will expand an existing student housing development known as The Pier in Seneca, S.C., built over a 10-year period by Tom Winkopp Development. The Pier, overlooking Lake Hartwell and located about 2.5 miles from the Clemson University campus, currently has 1,400 beds. The housing units now range from tiny houses to one- to six-bedroom cottage-style residences, according to Tom Winkopp, principal of the development firm. Gatto said Core Spaces plans to introduce nine-bedroom residences to the mix of housing styles to create unique single-family neighborhoods and clusters of homes that have their own organic community feel.
The property already has two resort-style pools and spas, a 5,000-square-foot fitness center, a clubhouse and outdoor amenities including a basketball court, two volleyball courts and a walking trail with more than 20 acres. Plans by the new joint venture include renovating the existing clubhouse and constructing a new 12,000-square-foot building with a coffee bar, study rooms and lounges.
“We’ll be creating a college town and are fortunate enough to have so much land to keep adding to it,” Gatto told MHN. “It’s truly unique because of the physical geography. With the terrain and climate, we plan to do a lot of outdoor fitness nodes, including outdoor lounge areas with fire pits throughout.”
The Pier already has a convenience store and neighborhood pub and features a field where the Clemson University rugby team plays its games. But Gatto said the master plan calls for adding a walkable town square with restaurants and retail that will be integrated into the development. The student village is one piece of a larger master-planned, mixed-use project on the entire 325-acre site to be development by Tom Winkopp Development and partners during the next three to five years. Winkopp and partners have owned the land since 2007 and began developing it in 2008.
Winkopp, a 1988 Clemson University graduate who began developing properties in the region right after graduation, said he had a vision to make The Pier a “mixed-use new Urbanist dream.” But he knew he needed to find the best partners in the country to make the dream come true.
He said he had about five different offers but chose to work with Core Spaces because the company is a long-term owner of its properties and very design-centric with its developments.
Gatto said he and the Core Spaces team were very excited by the size of the property, the beauty of the land and the scale of what could be developed there.
Daniel Goldberg, president of Core Spaces, described the project as among the most ambitious in the company’s history. He said in prepared remarks they were pleased to work with Winkopp and his development team to bring a world-class college town environment to Clemson University and the surrounding community. Goldberg noted the Clemson region has experienced significant population growth due to its high quality of living, affordability, picturesque downtown and favorable year-round climate.
Both Goldberg and Winkopp also pointed to the strong enrollment rates at Clemson University.
Gatto said Core Spaces, which focuses on acquiring and developing student housing near Tier 1 schools, has purchased properties in the region but this would be its first development near Clemson University and in South Carolina.
Core Spaces Assets
Core Spaces currently owns and/or manages 37 properties nationwide, totaling more than 16,000 units and beds. It has a pipeline of more than 40,000 units and beds in various stages of development and acquisition. Gatto told MHN in any given year the company acquires about $1 billion in student housing and develops about $1 billion in student housing. The expansion is aided by a joint venture announced in February 2021 with two unidentified global real estate investors that committed to acquiring more than $1 billion of assets with Core Spaces managing the properties.
In April, Core Spaces acquired Ulake, a 401-bed student community in Tampa, Fla., serving students at the University of South Florida, for $38.8 million from FPA Multifamily. Completed in 1980, the community has 17 buildings and 300 recently renovated units with one- and two-bedroom apartments.
Last fall, Core Spaces secured construction financing for the development of its second student housing property serving students at the University of Southern California. Hub on Campus II, also known as Hub on Campus Los Angeles – Figueroa, will have 157 units and 577 beds when it is completed by the beginning of the 2023-2024 academic year. The site is about a half-mile from the campus entrance at Greek Row and within USC’s off-campus housing area.