Article originally published by Phoenix Business Journal On July 11, 2018.
Caliber – The Wealth Development Co. has invested $6.8 million to renovate a 164-unit apartment complex, touting its proximity to the rapidly growing Grand Canyon University in Phoenix.
The Scottsdale-based real estate investment firm paid $6.45 million for the property in 2015 with an eye for developing off-campus housing for GCU students.
With 20,500 students expected to begin classes at GCU this fall, offering housing within walking distance of the campus near 35th Avenue and Camelback Road made sense, said Jennifer Schrader, co-founder, president and COO of Caliber.
GCU’s annual economic impact is around $1.1 billion, according to a recent study conducted by Elliott D. Pollack & Co.
But the complex, dubbed GC Square Apartments, isn’t just for students, Schrader said.
“This has been a project of passion to revamp this area and offer affordable, inviting housing for students and people in the community,” she said.
Prices range from $950 for a studio to $1,700 for a three-bedroom unit, according to a sales representative at GC Square Apartments.
Even New York-based Goldman Sachs Asset Management Private Real Estate is getting on the GCU bandwagon.
Last year, the company bought Bethany Crossing, a retail center anchored by a Walmart store on the northeast corner of Bethany Home Road and 35th Avenue — about a mile north of GCU.
The company changed the name of that retail center to Grand Canyon Crossingand painted it purple — GCU’s team color.
GCU is known for its revitalization efforts of the neighborhood and the West Valley.
The university, however, isn’t affiliated with the apartment complex in any way, said GCU President Brian Mueller.
“We are happy that businesses are interested in investing in this community, especially as it relates to affordable housing options for the people who live and work here,” he said. “However, for our students, we encourage them to live on our campus for a number of reasons. We have one of the safest college campuses in the country. We are an alcohol-free and drug-free campus. We continue to build apartment-style residence halls that students prefer. And, most importantly, there is a strong sense of community on our campus that has become one of the primary reasons students are choosing GCU.”
He pointed to Niche.com’s 2018 rankings, which ranked GCU as the seventh best college campus in America, up from No. 8 last year.
Built around 1972, that property is within an area designated as a federal opportunity zone.
Arizona has 168 opportunity zones, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to provide a tax reduction for investors. The money must be invested within 180 days for it to be eligible. Investors can re-invest capital gains realized from a sale of property, stock or business to defer paying taxes.
With a Tax Reduction Opportunity Fund in its toolkit to attract investors, Caliber is poised to continue investing in the community with additional developments, Schrader said.
She said it’s too soon to disclose any details.