Marcia Bond Retires from Homestead

Posted by:

MarciaAfter nine years, Marcia is leaving our company to “semi-retire” to be a part time Controller at a local financial planning business.

For those of you who may not know, Marcia was my first office employee when I started the company almost ten years ago.  At that time, we had just a few small properties and less than ten employees all in Columbus, Ohio.  We now have over 20 properties and 200 employees in five states.  That growth would simply not have been possible without Marcia.  Among so many other things, Marcia implemented our accounting systems, developed our banking relationships, and created and oversaw the implementation of our employee benefits programs.  These, and so many of her other initiatives, helped pave the way for the growth we have experienced and enjoyed.  The influence Marcia has had on this company is immeasurable.

Marcia – thank you for everything you have done for Homestead America.  Thank you for your dedication, your loyalty, your leadership, and most importantly, your friendship.
Please join me in wishing Marcia much happiness and enjoyment in her next chapter of life.

– Dave Anderson


Dave Anderson: Featured speaker at 2016 Student Housing Business Interface Conference

Posted by:




Homestead President, Dave Anderson, was a featured speaker at the 2016 Student Housing Interface Conference in Austin, Texas, on April 13th – 15th. The event featured over 1,200 top industry players, breaking previous years’ records for attendance. At the event attendees networked, discussed and dined over a range of industry topics.


Read about the featured speakers HERE.

Read article about the conference HERE.


Homestead U Featured in Columbus Business First

Posted by:



How We…

Built stable business with college kids

Homestead U’s housing nearby universities represented an untapped market

By Jeff Bell

Q&A – Read it on Business First Website (Available to non-subscribers on 1/25/15)

View PDF

Formica_2Laura Formica likes to tell the story about the first time that Homestead America Founder and President Dave Anderson called her about joining his company’s fledgling student housing division in 2012.

Called Homestead U, the business had been launched in 2011 with the acquisition of the 1,008-unit University Village apartment complex near Ohio State University. More deals were in the works on properties near Ohio University, the University of Arizona and Texas Tech University.

“Dave was sitting by the pool in Arizona and said to me, ‘you should see how these college kids live,’ ” Formica said. “He was so excited his company was branching into student housing.”

Anderson’s enthusiasm was justified. Today, Homestead U has grown to 3,700 units with more than 7,000 beds for college students. It also is targeting additional properties in the Midwest and Southwest.

Homestead U is a division of Columbus-based Homestead America, a full-service commercial real estate management company that specializes in apartment communities. Working with Santa Monica, Calif.-based equity partner Columbus Pacific Properties, the company has created a student housing division that focuses on adding value, such as shuttle bus service and social programs, to apartment complexes it owns and manages.

Formica, 31, joined Homestead U as Marketing Director in July 2012 and now serves as Vice President of Operations. Here are highlights from her recent interview with Columbus Business First.

What’s the multifamily housing market like today in Central Ohio? Booming – there is an unprecedented amount of development that’s taking place. Since 2011, there have been a total of 13,000 units slated to come online, and 5,000 of those are with the downtown area and adjacent neighborhoods. So you’ve got a ton of development happening in the center of the city and also a lot of development in Hilliard, Polaris and New Albany.

Why did Dave Anderson decide to create Homestead U in 2011? The operations of  student housing are different than conventional (apartments), so it made sense to branch out. On a big-picture level, he saw an opportunity in student housing, which is a sector of the industry that was not oversaturated  with investors, capital rates were really low, lenders were very friendly and there was not a lot of competition. It was a sky’s-the-limit kind of opportunity.

On the face of it, owning and managing apartments that are rented to college students looks like a risky business. How do you mitigate and manage that risk? Obviously students, not all but some, can be a little harder on the apartments. But it’s like any other typical apartment lease – you charge back for damages and you factor that into your costs. You’ve always got standard wear and tear, and some people are harder on the units than others. We also require co-signers with the student housing we manage. When you’ve got sand and mom on the hook, it becomes a lot easier to collect the rent and on any damages.

Tell us about the process of finding the right property at the right location? The biggest thing for us is that we look at the university. Is it a tier one school? Is enrollment growing? You also look at (apartment) development in the space – what the supply and demand looks like. We also really look for value – add opportunities. Maybe (a property) has some deferred maintenance issues and doesn’t have a robust resident life experience and no social programming. Maybe it’s a little farther from campus and (residents) need transportation, so we look at providing a shuttle service. Overall, we look to grow the value of the asset, improve the property and raise rents.

What have been the keys to the fast growth of Homestead U division? Going from 1,800 beds to more than 7,000 beds in three years has been quick to say the least. We couldn’t do it without Columbus Pacific, our equity partners. They make it possible to move forward on these deals and manage these properties. That being said, from where I sit it’s our team of people, who are just incredible. Our strategy when we hire is that you have to have that entrepreneurial spirit and you have to be ready to adapt and be open to changing roles, sometimes on a daily basis. That’s really the key. You may just have to roll with it.

What’s been Homestead U’s experience with University Village in Columbus? We acquired that property in 2011, and it’s been 100 percent occupied every year. It was built in the 1950s and had been owned and managed by the same company for a very long time. it had been impeccably maintained, and we inherited a really great (management) team. It had the challenge of not being the newest kid on the block, but they had built a really solid brand…and it continues to perform well.

Where do you see Homestead U five years from now? I know the partners have very aggressive goals for growth. I would love to be sitting here five years from now at 20,000 beds on a national level. That would be amazing, and think it’s realistic. But it depends on the economy, (interest) rates and the kind of value – add opportunities that fit our niche. It’s also dependent on the number of investors that enter the student housing space. We’re seeing more and more, so it also depends on how saturated and competitive (the market) becomes. We’re in a great position. We’re focused on building a brand and a culture that our properties are identified with in Homestead U. As long as we continue to find deals that provide a great return and are in our wheelhouse, we’re going to keep moving forward.





Rivergate project featured in The Athens News

Posted by:

Church would make way for apartment complex under proposal

Zoning board, citing parking and height issues, rejects variances

By Conor Morris

published: Wednesday, May 21

Click here to visit Athens News Website


Photo Credits: Photo by Terry Smith, The Athens NEWS. Photo Caption: Under a proposal from Homestead U of Columbus, the New Life Assembly of God Church near OU’s South Green would be razed to make way for a student apartment complex.

Owners of the Riverpark and River’s Edge apartment complexes on South Green Drive have big plans for the land where the New Life Assembly of God Church currently stands.

Student housing company Homestead U LLC of Columbus plans to build a new 4.5-story, $20 million apartment building called “Rivergate” on the spot.

The only problem is, those plans may be a little too big; in a 4-1 vote, the Athens Board of Zoning Appeals at a May 13 hearing denied the owners four requested variances from city codes. That decision can be appealed. Concerns also have been raised about whether the plans have enough parking.

Phillip Foster, the pastor at the New Life Assembly of God church, spoke at the zoning board meeting in favor of the project.

He said the church entered into a contract with Homestead U’s late last year. If and when issues with the city and OU are resolved and the church finds a new location (Foster assured the board that it would still be in Athens), the church will be torn down and replaced with the Rivergate complex.

Continue Reading →


Student Housing Business – Tier 2 Attraction

Posted by:

Homestead U’s Dave Anderson and CPP’s Brian Shirken are featured in this article published on 10/4/13

Click here to visit Student Housing Business


— Susan Fishman of SHB Magazine

SHB_HeaderIt’s a market with many names — “non-flagship,” “secondary,” “Tier 2” (which tends to have a less desirable connotation and, therefore, may be a misleading moniker), and more and more, it’s a market that’s attracting the American student. Some student housing developers believe non-flagship markets will be relatively untapped for years to come. Still others say they can quickly become overbuilt as many developers seek them out for their enrollment growth stories and often less expensive land. In fact, the bulk of the American demographic is attending non-flagship schools, according to Ted Rollins, CEO for Campus Crest Communities.

“In the past five years, we’ve seen a 12 percent growth in enrollment, which is more than the flagship schools,” Rollins says. “47 percent of the students who attend public state universities go to non-flagship schools, and we’ve seen an average value proposition on tuition of about 17 percent less than flagship schools. We’ve also seen an increase in foreign enrollment and an increase in the average length of stay, which is currently about five years, versus four from the past few years.” Continue Reading →


The Columbus Dispatch – Century-old Atlas Building bringing more upscale living downtown

Posted by:

UnknownStory by Steve Wartenberg

Published: 9/29/13

Click here to visit The Columbus Dispatch


Joel Lilly, left, and Michael Schiff of Schiff Capital in the lobby of the Atlas Building, which they are renovating into apartments.

Joel Lilly, left, and Michael Schiff of Schiff Capital in the lobby of the Atlas Building, which they are renovating into apartments (Photo by Adam Cairns).







Standing in the ornate lobby of the Atlas Building, local developer Michael Schiff sounded like a proud parent as he discussed his plans for renovating the historic Downtown skyscraper at the northeastern corner of N. High and Long streets.

“Look at all this marble,” Schiff said, sweeping his hand to point out the floors, columns and staircase covered in the crystalline limestone material that has been a prized building material for centuries. “There’s not a lobby like this anywhere else in Columbus.”

And then he pointed to the ceiling, which is covered in brightly colored sunken panels called coffers.

Work will start soon on the $20 million renovation project to convert the 1905 office building into a 98-unit, upscale apartment building with retail space on either side of the lobby. Continue Reading →


Student Housing Business Magazine: Company Profile

Posted by:

Click To Download PDF Version


Columbus Business First | Homestead U expands student housing holdings with purchase in Tucson

Posted by:

A Columbus-based owner and manager of off-campus student housing has acquired its second apartment complex in Tucson, Ariz.

Homestead U purchased the 336-apartment Reserve at Star Pass for its investment and management portfolio. The property is less than 6 miles from the University of Arizona, with an enrollment of about 40,000.

Homestead U and equity partner Columbus Pacific Properties of California paid seller Education Realty Trust Inc. (NYSE:EDR) $25.5 million for the student housing complex. The 12-year-old property includes 1,020 beds for students but has a “distressed” occupancy level at 65 percent.

“It’s a beautiful property,” said Laura Formica, Homestead U’s national director of marketing. “It’s been well-maintained.”
Continue Reading →