Developer buys $180M of UC Berkeley student housing

Isabella Ko/Staff

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Texas-based developer The Dinerstein Companies, or TDC, bought $180 million of UC Berkeley student housing from the real estate investment company Equity Residential in a deal that closed last month, according to Josh Vasbinder, a West Coast partner at TDC.

According to a press release from TDC, Berkeley real estate is in demand for many renters because of its prominent “culinary scene, cultural amenities,” as well as walkable distances and public transit access. Berkeley’s apartment market has become one of the most sought-after in the country, with Downtown Berkeley’s residential population doubling and UC Berkeley’s 6,000 student increase in enrollment since 2000, the press released also stated.

“The pros … were (being) able to gain a significant presence in the Berkeley market with this acquisition,” Vasbinder said in an email. “We’re excited to rebrand the properties as part of our Sterling Collection.”

According to the press release, TDC acquired six buildings in Downtown Berkeley: including the Berkeleyan, Renaissance Villas, ARTech, Touriel, Fine Arts and Gaia properties. The press release added that all six properties built between 1998 and 2004 total 343 units — adding up to 27,304 square feet of retail space located steps from the UC Berkeley campus, as well as BART stations.

According to Vasbinder, the deal was closed in September, but the properties were marketed as early as April. He added that the deal shouldn’t affect housing prices, and that the high barrier of the Bay Area results in tight and expensive housing supplies.

Deals and projects focused on creating more housing opportunities, however, would alleviate the imbalance in supply and demand — which creates hope for the city’s future popularity with big developers because of the attractive “fundamentals in Berkeley,” said Vasbinder.

“We are a seasoned management company that has been managing student properties across the county for a couple decades,” Vasbinder explained in the email. “We bring that knowledge, along with an excitement and joy in working with residents on a daily basis.”

Yao Huang is a Research and Ideas reporter. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.