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Campus Crest Communities Inc. (CCG - Snapshot Report) – a real estate investment trust (REIT) recently disclosed a joint venture (JV) with Beaumont Partners SA for foraying into the Montréal Student Housing Market. The JV purchased the 33-story Delta Centre-Ville Hotel in downtown Montréal, Québec for approximately $60 million. The move comes as part of its efforts to expand its operational footprint.

The JV plans to convert the hotel into a student housing tower and seek redevelopment financing later this year. The renovation is scheduled to be accomplished by the fall of 2014 with leasing to commence in the fall of 2013. Campus Crest, which currently has a 20% stake in the JV, has made the purchase at a discount to the replacement cost.

Advantageously positioned above the Square-Victoria Metro Station stop, this property enjoys easy access to the McGill University, Concordia University and L’École de Technologie Supérieure - a part of the Université du Québec network - serving over 81,500 full-time students. As per the JV, Campus Crest will serve as a property manager.

We expect this JV acquisition to be a strategic fit for the company, given the property’s premium location. Moreover, this project in Canada represents Campus Crest’s second urban, high-rise development, the first being a JV to develop a 33-storied student housing tower in University City, Philadelphia. This 850-bed facility is slated to be completed in the fall of 2014.

Campus Crest, which currently has a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy), is a developer, builder, owner and manager of high-quality, purpose-built student housing properties located close to campuses in targeted U.S. markets. The company rents student housing properties, offers student housing services and provides construction, development and management services.

A number of other REITs that are also performing well and deserve look are Avalonbay Communities Inc. (AVB - Analyst Report), Camden Property Trust (CPT - Snapshot Report) and Essex Property Trust Inc. (ESS - Snapshot Report). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank # 2.

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