Mississippi State University

U3 Advisors is currently assisting Mississippi State University to implement an exciting major student housing community at its Starkville, MS campus, based on market analysis and student preference survey managed by U3A. U3A, in partnership with Demographic Perspectives, was engaged to undertake a study of the potential redevelopment of a major site at the edge of the land grant university’s campus. The site had been previously occupied by student housing, which has since been demolished. U3A and DP used a combination of market research and a student survey to determine the overall demand for additional housing at the site as well as identifying the specific types of housing, retail, and amenities desired. In addition, U3A evaluated potential development structures, including public-private partnerships, leading to U3A managing an ongoing developer selection process for the site.

Beginning in 2016, U3A first generated an understanding of MSU’s housing goals by conducting interviews with key University stakeholders and evaluating existing housing inventory. U3A then conducted an assessment of the student housing market in Starkville, which was experiencing a wave of high-end residential development targeting MSU’s 20,000+ students. U3A used market data and interviews with local public and private stakeholders to quantify rental rates, expenses, construction costs, and capital market benchmarks. DP conducted student interviews and managed an online survey to test student demand for additional housing at the site and performed a retail analysis of the surrounding area. Using all this data, U3A developed a financial model testing redevelopment of the site under numerous physical and rent structure scenarios.
A key finding of the analysis was that the site offered an opportunity to not only provide a needed option for upperclassmen housing while generating revenue for the University, but also an opportunity to enhance the western edge of the campus through intentional placemaking and by enhancing connections to Starkville’s Downtown and popular Cotton District mixed use area.

After assessing the need for housing, U3A worked with MSU to identify suitable developer partners and draft and issue a Request for Proposals, which garnered bids from multiple major student housing developers. U3A assisted MSU to review proposals and interview developers and then negotiate a partnership with a developer. U3A is continuing to serve as project manager as the project is refined and to assist the University to negotiate binding agreements to execute the transaction.