Champion to Buy Student Housing With Multifamily Proceeds

The L.A.-based firm sold two multifamily properties in Southern California for $103.1 million

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Champion Real Estate is betting more on college life. 

The Los Angeles-based investment and development firm sold two multifamily properties in Southern California for a combined $103.1 million, and plans to use the proceeds to invest more in student housing.

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The larger sale closed in Ventura County. Champion sold The Vines at RiverPark community in Oxnard, Calif., for $93 million. The firm acquired the property at 3040 North Oxnard Boulevard in 2015 for $55.5 million. The development includes 164 rental townhomes in the master-planned community of RiverPark in Ventura County. 

Champion also sold an 18-unit apartment community in the Los Feliz neighborhood of L.A. for $10.1 million. Casa Laguna at 520 Franklin Avenue was built in 1928. It is a designated Historic-Cultural Monument with studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom units averaging 942 square feet. Champion acquired the property in 2013 for $5.85 million. 

The names of the buyers were not immediately disclosed

“The Vines at RiverPark and Casa Laguna are two of the first operational multifamily acquisitions by Champion which had previously been known primarily as a retail developer,” COO Parker Champion said in a statement. “At the time, we had identified challenges to the retail industry and made the decision to exchange out of our legacy retail holdings into multifamily where there was better inflation protection.”

Champion said the firm has decided to capitalize on appreciation in student housing asset properties by using the money from the two multifamily sales to target student housing. 

“Even during the height of the pandemic, Champion’s student housing portfolio remained above 85 percent occupancy, including universities where in-person learning was canceled,” Parker Champion said. “Champion is focused on Tier 1 universities and has acquired over 2,000 beds in the past two years with over 1,500 beds in development.”

Earlier this year, Champion acquired a 715-bed student housing community near Syracuse University for $65 million, and also sold a 24-unit complex near the University of Southern California for $20.5 million. Last year, the firm acquired a 100-unit, 346-bed student housing community near California State University, Fullerton for $44.4 million.

Gregory Cornfield can be reached at gcornfield@commercialobserver.com.