Texas A&M University-San Antonio is now the official owner of Esperanza Hall, effective last month after almost four years under private ownership.
The university, with the help of the A&M-System, assumed ownership of the student housing facility April 7.
This will allow the university to fund servicing for the hall, such as rent, maintenance and other projects, said Jo Anna Benavides-Franke, assistant vice president for student success and engagement.
The dorm hall, which opened in 2017, was previously owned by Collegiate Housing Foundation. It will continue to be managed and overseen by American Campus Communities.
Instead of having three entities involved in the operations, it will now involve two: the university and ACC, Benavides-Franke said.
Kathy Funk-Baxter vice president for business affairs said the A&M-System treasury services provided advice on how to financially acquire the hall. The purchase of the hall cost the university about $25 million.
CHF previously made financial decisions for the dorm, said Dr. Mari Fuentes-Martin, vice president for student success and engagement, in an April 1 phone interview with The Mesquite. The transfer of ownership now puts financial decisions in the hands of the university and ACC.
CHF previously controlled the rates of the rent plans. Now the university can analyze students’ needs and economic factors to set rent prices.
Rent prices will not be raised this year. Benavides-Franke said she is unsure if rent will decrease, but knows rent will not increase from its current price. The rent for a shared two-bed and one bath is $3,696.50 per person each semester.
Benavides-Franke said the A&M System was also in the process of working to help other campuses acquire ownership of student housing facilities, such as A&M-Corpus Christi.
Benavides-Franke said she believes owning Esperanza Hall will benefit the university financially as equity increases as ownership does. The university will no longer pay off debt to CHF because of accrued interest in the previous private partnership.
Fuentes-Martin said this will lead to lower costs and more profit for the university. It will also allow opportunities to respond to damages caused by natural disasters like tornadoes and February’s winter storm, and can lead to expansion.
“I think that this will give us the foundation from which to build future housing from,” Fuentes-Martin said.
Students will be the benefactors of the transition of ownership, Fuentes-Martin said.
“Our goal is to provide an academic success-oriented living environment for students and this is reinforced by our assuming ownership,” Fuentes-Martin said in a press release from the university’s marketing and communication.