NCAT apartments

N.C. A&T's real estate foundation is in negotiations to buy Collegiate Commons (in blue) and Sebastian Villages (in orange). In May, the foundation purchased the Campus Edge complex (in green). A&T's campus sits to the north (and not pictured here).

I was up to my neck in alligators last week, metaphorically speaking, so I didn't have much chance to look beyond the name of the two apartment complexes N.C A&T is planning to buy. (Technically, A&T's real estate foundation will buy the properties; I'll get to that in a little bit.) I did write a short story Friday on the foundation's plans. Tuesday, I had a chance to dig into some Guilford County GIS data and pass on some other details that seem interesting.

First: Collegiate Commons is the first of two complexes that A&T plans to buy. (It's in blue in the picture above.) The Cunningham Street complex has 108 apartments and 324 beds on 8.7 acres. The complex was built in 2001 and last sold in 2015. It's on the Guilford County tax rolls with an assessed value of $7.35 million.

Second: Sebastian Villages is the other and larger property A&T's foundation is looking to buy. (It's in orange above.) Like Collegiate Commons, it sits south of East Market Street. It covers an area that's bordered very roughly by South Benbow Road, Cunningham Street, McConnell Road and U.S. 29. It's actually three complexes — Sebastian Courtyard, Sebastian Place and Sebastian Village (singular) — now lumped together under the Sebastian Villages (plural) banner. The complex has 300 units (mostly three-bedroom apartments with a few 2 BRs and a handful of 4 BRs) and 840 beds on 13.8 acres. The property comes with a 1920s-era house that's used as a leasing office and a gym. The apartment buildings were built between 2006 and 2008. The entire complex is assessed at a little more than $18.2 million.

Some quick math: I know assessed prices aren't sale prices, but it looks like A&T's real estate foundation will be paying somewhere north of $25 million for these two complexes.

Other A&T apartments: As I noted in my story last week, A&T has been on an apartment-buying spree. In 2018, A&T's foundation bought two parts of the Campus Evolution complex (7.5 acres, 360 beds) near the football stadium for almost $19.6 million. In May, A&T's foundation closed on the Campus Edge complex on South Booker (108 beds on 2.1 acres; green on the map above). The sale price was just shy of $4 million, according to county real estate records

How the foundation pays for all of this: A&T's real estate foundation can sell bonds, which are repaid by the room rents collected by the university from the students who live there. As long as enrollment and demand for campus housing remain high, repaying the bondholders shouldn't be an issue.

Why do this: A&T students want to live on or near campus, and these two new purchases will give A&T close to 1,200 more beds. They'll also give A&T students more housing variety — most of A&T's dorms are traditional (with shared hall baths) and suite-style — and a 10-month school year lease. 

What's next in the short term: Chancellor Harold Martin Martin said the new additions to A&T's footprint will need some amenities — things like basketball and volleyball courts and maybe a convenience store. Martin said A&T students need places to relax and hang out near where they live, and Collegiate Commons and Sebastian Villages were built without these sorts of extras. It's a real sore point for Martin, and he's hoping to get these extras built soon. I haven't seen specific plans, though, but I'll let you know when I do.

What's next in the long term (land): A&T might need more land if enrollment, now above 12,500 this fall, continues to grow. The university is slowing buying up property north and west of campus in the area bordered by Bluford, Dudley, Lindsay and Laurel Streets. A&T's latest master plan calls for several new buildings on that site. The first building will be a 420-bed residence hall with ground-floor retail spaces. The latest on this project is an opening date of fall 2021.

Beyond the area I mentioned above, I know of no specific plans for A&T to acquire more land around campus. Martin told me that A&T is probably done with buying apartment complexes, at least for now. I suspect that could change if housing demand keeps rising and A&T gets a good deal on some land. Frankly, though, there isn't much left to buy near campus except for one complex near Sebastian Villages, several near Laurel Street and the Campus Evolution cottages.

What's next in the long term (dorms): A&T has a lot of long-in-the-tooth residence halls and one of the things A&T trustees approved Friday was $100,000 for a housing feasibility study. Back in the spring, when A&T updated its master plan, A&T officials suggested that three dorms — Haley, Vanstory and Barbee, all built in the late 1960s — would be replaced by two or more dorms. Most of the rest would get major renovations. We'll see if the housing consultants agree.

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