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Luxury College Dorms Offer Upscale Amenities

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2013-09_6c65b0959f.jpgKelly Johnson/Campus Crest (NEW YORK) -- If you think a rooftop pool, tanning bed and fire pit are amenities too luxurious for a college dorm, think again. As universities experience budget crunches and students face soaring tuition costs, Campus Crest Communities Inc., a publicly traded company based in Charlotte, N.C., develops and markets fully furnished luxury dorms to college and grad students across the U.S. and Canada.

Campus Crest brands target potential tenants, much like a hotel parent company offers various inns and resorts.  The 10-year-old company just introduced its newest brand idea, evo, described as an "upscale urban student housing concept designed to target mature undergrads and grad students." 

The first upscale evo properties are scheduled to open in fall 2014.  One of these will serve University of Pennsylvania students, rooftop pool included, and will be the tallest student housing property in the country with 33 stories and 850 beds.  The evo Montreal will be the company's first entrance into the international market.

Campus Crest's other two brands cater to a specific customer base as a Residence Inn by Marriott might appeal to business travelers and a Great Wolf Lodge waterpark resort targets families.

Campus Crest's Copper Beech brand offer town homes that target seniors and grad students.  The Grove brand targets sophomores and juniors, with traditional apartment floor plans and a residence life program with its own resident assistant, or RA, system.  Campus Crest's RAs are officially called community assistants, or more affectionately "rock stars."

The company has 86 student housing properties and more than 45,205 beds across the U.S.

Ted Rollins, co-founder and CEO of Campus Crest Communities, said his private housing can offer "quality life" with no material financial impact on mom and dad paying the bills. The average rent is $500 for a fully furnished apartment with utilities, Internet and cable included.

There is plenty of competition in the industry for private student housing, both small and large, but Campus Crest is one of the larger businesses in the field.  American Campus Communities Inc., based in Texas and founded in 1993, is a competing publicly traded company.

Campus Crest has a "full delivery model," Rollins explains, with its own general contractor, supply firm and asset management company.

"It's a more efficient way to get a product to the market," he said.  "It saves time and increases quality."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

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