University House Communities has purchased The Standard at Baton Rouge for $108.6 million, a deal that real estate observers said is the most per-unit price paid for an apartment complex in Baton Rouge.
The sale price for the 287-unit complex at 740 W. Chimes St., just outside the LSU campus, works out to just over $378,000 per unit, said Wesley Moore, an appraiser with Cook, Moore & Associates, who tracks the Baton Rouge apartment market.
“I’ve never seen pricing at that level per unit,” Moore said. The previous high-water mark for Baton Rouge apartment sales was when the 392-unit Cottages of Baton Rouge changed hands in September 2011 for about $89.5 million.
When the University Edge complex at West McKinley and Iowa streets sold earlier this year, the price worked out to more than $221,000 a unit, which those involved in the sale said was the most paid per unit locally. Moore noted The Standard is three blocks closer to LSU than University Edge. “It’s a stronger location,” he said.
University House acquired the complex from Landmark Properties of Athens, Georgia, which built The Standard. The complex opened a few months ago for the start of the 2015 fall semester and is 93 percent occupied. The building permit for the complex originally listed the project cost at $50.6 million. Landmark paid $9.7 million for the land in late 2013, buying a 4.5-acre block bordered by West Chimes, Aster, Iowa and Alaska streets.
Landmark is a “merchant builder” that develops and constructs apartment complexes with the intention to sell them to investment groups like University House, Moore said. Sharon Goldmacher, a spokeswoman for University House, said there was a deal in place for the company to buy The Standard after Landmark completed it.
The new owners said they will soon rebrand the complex as University House Baton Rouge.
“Acquiring a premier property like The Standard adds to our growing portfolio of Class-A student housing communities,” said Troy Manson, chief investment officer for Dallas-based University House.
Manson described the location as “one of the finest in the market,” with amenities such as a rooftop pool that overlooks Tiger Stadium, a golf simulator and a 12,000-square-foot clubhouse. The University House features furnished one-, two-, three-, four- and five-bedroom apartments. Each bedroom has its own bathroom. The units also include 42-inch flat-screen TVs, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances and full-size washers/dryers.
Those amenities and the convenient location to LSU don’t come cheap, Moore said. The Standard has “rents as high as any he’s seen” in Baton Rouge, averaging about $2 per square foot. The average unit in The Standard is 1,176 square feet. The complex also charges monthly parking fees that average about $70.
University House has 21 student apartment complexes across the U.S., near schools such as the University of Alabama, the University of Florida, Florida State University and the University of Texas. The company’s holdings include a total of nearly 11,000 beds.
This will be University House’s second Louisiana property. The company also owns the University House Acadiana, a 168-unit complex about 1 1/2 miles away from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
University House previously had five complexes in Baton Rouge but sold its local holdings in 2007 to Campus Apartments Inc., of Philadelphia, for $85.5 million. FirstWorthing, which owned University House at the time, was purchased by Inland American Real Estate Trust in 2007. The business was later renamed University House Communities.
Follow Timothy Boone on Twitter @TCB_TheAdvocate.