Park Point residents were notified on October 16 that the corporation American Campus Communities (ACC) had purchased the property from the previous Rochester-based owners, Wilmorite Properties. ACC already owns The Province. According to the ACC website, “American Campus Communities is the nation's largest developer, owner and manager of high-quality student housing communities.”
Naturally, prospective Park Point applicants and current residents are concerned about this change in ownership. Bowee Lee, a second year graduate student in Professional Studies and a fifth year Park Point tenant, expressed concern regarding the new lack in pricing competition between Park Point and The Province, as well as the ACC’s management style at The Province.
“I’ve heard from former residents of Province and some current residents that they’re not particularly happy with the way that The Province is managed,” Lee commented in an interview. “If there is a loud party or something they would call security, but [security] would just tell [the partiers] to keep it down and that would be the end of it, rather than trying to break up the party or something.”
Nate Ward, a third year International and Global Studies major, had concerns similar to Bowee’s. “… I’m pretty sure that the company that bought them out also owns Province.… [T]hose two are competitive in pricing; so now that they are both owned by the same company then prices could go up,” said Ward.
Other students, however, were not worried about management. Kristina Klishko, a second year Mechanical Engineer major, seemed to have positive sentiments towards ACC management. During a phone interview, Klishko said: “They have nicer apartments than here. But I think that in terms of management, I think that they should be alright.”
According to Seeking Alpha, the negation between ACC and Wilmorite Properties has been debated for two years. During a phone interview, AAC’s area manager Dan Barry was able to comment on the company’s plans for Park Point. According to Barry, there will be no significant increase in monthly installment rates, and future lease agreements will remain unchanged. Students will also be able to retain their previous rates upon renewing their lease, as per the previous policy of Wilmorite Properties.
When asked whether American Campus Communities planned to implement new policies, Barry responded by saying that the ACC does not plan to make any major changes, but that they would like students to know that ACC is “academically focused,” and is “looking at how [they] can support residents as a customer service.”
According to Barry, one change will be the switch from Wilmorite’s private security to AlliedBarton Security Services, “the largest American-owned security officer services company,” and very versatile, according to their website. He said that this company is different from the private security that was maintained at The Province after its sale.
Other changes that ACC will be implementing will include different fees for the different forms of payments. Cash will no longer be an acceptable form of payment and there will be a $20 charge for any credit card payment to encourage students to switch to direct deposit for the payment of their rent. According to Barry, students can set up a monthly payment plan with their credit card that will change them $20 for the first month and then $1 for every month after. If students set up direct deposit they will be charged a $1 fee because ACC utilizes a third party for these payments.
Most big changes will most likely be delayed until the 2014-15 school year. Park Point will continue as it has been, boarding students and providing retail to the public and student population. Barry encourages students to contact American Campus Community representatives for any questions they have, in order to help ensure a painless transition.