Picerne expands into student housing business

JOHN PICERNE, founder of Picerne Military Housing and CEO of Corvias Group.
Posted 7/24/12

EAST GREENWICH – Picerne Military Housing - a builder and manager of U.S. military housing - is launching a new parent company, Corvias Group, and a new student housing division, Corvias Campus Living, the company announced Tuesday.

John Picerne, founder of Picerne Military Housing and CEO of Corvias Group, told Providence Business News that his company will be making some new hires soon.

Kurt Ehlers, former program director at Picerne Military Housing, is being promoted to managing director of the new student housing division.

Student housing and senior housing are areas Picerne has identified as in need of Corvias’ management program, though for now he is focusing on campus real estate.

“Our focus is trying to find niches in our industry, niches where we believe we can make a difference,” Picerne said.

Opportunities for developers to deliver new units in urban areas is limited, so Corvias Campus Living will be focusing on suburban and rural schools, though Picerne wouldn’t discuss which universities he is negotiating with.

“We’re primarily focusing on mid-sized private schools rather than public schools, and primarily in the Northeast to begin with,” he said. “Definitely in Rhode Island, and we will expand into Massachusetts and Connecticut, too.”

Through the military housing division, Corvias Group is currently located in six states. Picerne hopes by this time next year, the company’s presence will increase to 15 states.

Southern and Southwestern states are flooded with a preponderance of real estate developers, with off-campus apartment complexes becoming the “biggest developer opportunity right now,” Picerne added.

Corvias Campus Living will build new suite-style configurations, but also renovate existing housing stock. “We have to be creative to figure out how to renovate some of these 1930s, ’40s and ’50s dorms in an affordable way,” he said.

According to a company release, while many colleges and universities routinely work with developers to build one-off campus housing facilities or new academic buildings, no institution in the United States has ever given one company full responsibility for the construction, management and maintenance of all student residences before.

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