University of South Florida Wins Best Education Project at P3 Awards

The University of South Florida (“USF”) took home the “Best Education Project” award at the annual P3 Awards in New York City, hosted by P3 Bulletin and one of the largest programs recognizing impactful public-private partnership endeavors across the Americas.

USF’s Assistant Vice President for Housing & Residential Education, Ana Hernandez, accepted the award on behalf of the school for the groundbreaking initiative on its Tampa campus.  The $134M project, known as “The Village,” features 2,150 beds, a satellite campus recreation facility, campus dining facility, campus retail stores.  Phase 1 opened in fall 2017, while phase 2 opened this past August.  The community will also boast the first Publix location integrated into a student housing village on a college campus, approximately 25,000 SQ in size, opening soon immediately adjacent to the project.

Of special importance is that USF was the first entity to successfully navigate the state of Florida’s new guidelines allowing for mixed-use social infrastructure projects to be developed as P3s.  The project’s revenue model – a comprehensive design, build, finance, operate, and maintain structure – was financed using partner equity and successfully achieved financial close in fall 2016. Brailsford & Dunlavey served as USF’s development advisor, and the project’s development partner team consists of Capstone Development Partners and Harrison Street Real Estate Capital.

“It was very important for us to clearly define the project goals to ensure feasibility and alignment with USF’s mission and strategic objectives before moving systematically through solicitation, selection, and negotiations with the private partner team,” Hernandez said.

More information about the project:

The Village’s equity project structure is unique due to its complexity. Not only are the design, build, finance, operational and asset management risks fully transferred to the private entities, but the multiple asset types involved required an increased range of expertise involved through the development process. The revenue model project utilized a structure with a participatory ground lease payment, aligning interests between the partners and giving USF greater benefits along with increasingly positive project performance.

USF made it a mandatory requirement that the selected partner team build a structure that has a residual lifespan that extended 25 percent beyond the 45-year deal term. One of the most innovative ways the partner team delivered on this aspect was by working with Finfrock, a company that utilizes a precast concrete structural system that cost effectively delivers long lifespan, energy efficiency, flexibility, low maintenance, and durable buildings in the tropical Florida climate.

The Village is already dramatically impacting the lives of USF’s students. Not only does it provide new, modern housing, but it will enhance the overall learning experience including a large number of employment opportunities for students within walking distance of thousands of beds of new and existing USF housing. It also serves the student body by offering a high-quality place to live, learn, eat, stay active, socialize, and work on campus, all within walking distance. This project has not only opened doors to USF’s students and brought them closer to the local community, but serves as a successful example for the State of Florida and the rest of the country of a large multi-phase comprehensive mixed-use P3 revenue model.