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Education Realty Trust Inc. (EDR - Snapshot Report) (“EdR”), a real estate investment trust (REIT), recently disclosed the addition of 92 apartments next to the University of Connecticut. The company is planning the development of a third phase at The Oaks on The Square in Storrs Center, beside the university.

Named as Phase 1C, this third phase has a projected development cost of $12.8 million. The project, situated next to Phase 1A and 1B, will be completed by 2014. It will be owned and managed by Education Realty.

The prior two phases, which have a total of 322 apartments (503 beds) are fully occupied. The Phase 1C will result in another 92 apartments (116 beds), bringing the total number to 414 apartments (619 beds).

Situated  the edge of the University of Connecticut, tenants of The Oaks on The Square have easy access to sporting events, theater, live music, restaurants and shopping center. Moreover, the new phase to be developed will offer modern amenities including high-speed Internet and Wi-fi access.

The development is aimed to strengthen EdR's market dominance with a significant presence at the University of Connecticut. With 8,000 graduate students and 18,000 undergraduate students being enrolled at the University of Connecticut’s main campus, the new phase is expected to enjoy decent leasing activity.

The move further reinforces EdR's policy of investing in the high-growth collegiate housing industry as it focuses on providing premium quality student housing facilities.

EdR is one of the largest owners, developers and managers of collegiate housing in the U.S. It also provides third-party management services, including residence life and student development, marketing, leasing administration, strategic relationships and accounting services for student housing communities owned by educational institutions.

The company owns or manages 67 communities in 24 states with more than 37,000 beds. The ideal acquisition targets of the company are generally located in markets that have stable or increasing collegiate populations and high barriers to entry.

EdR currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, other REITs that are performing better and deserve a look include Select Income REIT (SIR - Snapshot Report), which carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Camden Property Trust (CPT - Snapshot Report) and CBRE Group Inc. (CBG - Analyst Report) with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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