Park West student housing is A&M's newest public-private partnership

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COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) - The largest public-private housing project of its kind is being showcased by Texas A&M University, and News 3 had an exclusive tour Friday.

The new Park West student housing is opening for the fall semester. It's located on George Bush Drive west of Wellborn Road.

Click here to see the web page for Park West apartments.

At first glance Park West looks like a high end apartment complex you might see in Houston or Dallas.

"It's amazing. It's the best student housing project I've heard multiple times," said Frank D'Ascanio, as he was talking about the typical reaction here.

D'Ascanio is the Senior Project Manager with Weitz construction company.

"It's a $250 million luxury student housing project. It houses 3,406 students. We started a little bit under two years ago when it was nothing but horse pastures, and we turned over some of the Flats buildings a year early. And now we've completed the rest of the project about a week early," he said.

Also coming online is another public-private partnership on University Drive. Century Square already has more than $100 million in private investment.

"Our company Midway is made up mostly of Aggies so you know, it's something they are really taking pride in, and this project has been going on since 2005 when A&M kind of reached out to companies to find a partner for this project. So we've been involved in it, and been looking to develop this property to support A&M and to add to the community," John Taylor, Century Square General Manager.

Phillip Ray with the Texas A&M System says the public-private partnership for Park West is bringing in $18 million upfront, and it's not costing Texas A&M a dime.

"I think it's going to be a tremendous asset to our students at the end of the day to the P3 partnership. No debt to us, and then I think certainly the net revenue that comes back to us and that the chancellor re-invests into. And I think the strategic mission of Texas A&M University teaching research and service I think serves them all very well," said Ray, who serves as Vice Chancellor for Business Affairs.

The housing is also designed to be affordable for students. We're told bedrooms at Park West start at about $449 a month.

Move in has already started in some of the apartments. So far more than 1,630 units have been leased.

It's managed and was developed by Servitas.