ORONO, Maine — A local apartment complex known for rowdy parties that attracted hundreds of University of Maine students and, on occasion, police to quiet them has a new owner and a new name.
The complex formerly known as The Grove is now called The Reserve at Orono.
Harrison Street Real Estate Capital LLC, a privately owned investment firm headquartered in Chicago, acquired North Carolina-based Campus Crest Communities Inc., owner of The Grove property and others across the country, for $1.9 billion on March 2.
“Harrison Street believes that this transaction constitutes the largest acquisition of student housing properties in the industry,” a Harrison Street news release about the sale states.
“We are pleased to have completed this complex transaction, which will add over 38,000 beds to our student housing portfolio,” Christopher Merrill, co-founder, president and CEO of Harrison Street, said in the news release. “Given our focus on long-term, need-based real estate, we believe this investment fits well within our current student housing portfolio.”
Joanne Current, executive assistant at Harrison Street, said Tuesday that company employees in Chicago are working with local people on the ground in Orono to evaluate their new property.
“We have an asset management team here that will work with them,” she said.
Harrison Street has hired Asset Campus Housing as the new, third-party property manager for the portfolio, the release states. Apartments, which are two- or three-bedroom units that include some utilities, Internet and cable, cost $585 or $600 per month but will decrease when students return in the fall to $530 for a two-bedroom unit and $550 for a three-bedroom unit.
Campus Crest owned student housing properties with more than 38,000 beds across the United States and opened The Grove, with approximately 200 units and room for 620 tenants, in September 2012. The complex, consisting of 12 apartment buildings and 8 townhouses, cost $25.3 million to build. Tenants have complained in the past about heating problems, electrical outages and mildew, among other issues. Orono’s code enforcement officer said in 2013 the complex met all applicable building standards.
With the Campus Crest acquisition, Harrison Street’s total student housing portfolio includes more than 76,000 beds, the news release states.
Whether Harrison Street plans to make any changes or add any new amenities to the Orono student housing property is something Current said she could not answer.
Kent Corey, the on-site manager under Campus Crest who was reached Monday by phone, said he has retained his job.
“We just started working with them,” Corey said of Harrison Street. “They’re doing assessments, and we’ll go from there. It’s pretty new to all of us.”
He said a new sign for the front entrance has been ordered.