CSC Coliving, an investment group specializing in apartment projects with shared kitchens and bathrooms and other communal spaces, has acquired the International House Philadelphia dormitory and culture-center tower in University City.
CSC borrowed $33 million to buy and renovate the 14-story concrete landmark at 37th and Chestnut Streets and expand its interior into 400 apartment units, according to a release Monday from real estate services firm JLL, which helped broker the loan.
The building’s sale price was not disclosed. CSC and the nonprofit organization that previously owned and operated the building did not immediately respond to emails.
The International House’s nonprofit operator announced in April 2019 that it planned to sell the building, built about 1970 in the Brutalist style, to focus on its shifted mission as a hub for immigrant services and international business with much less of a real estate role.
Officials said at the time that the building had become expensive to maintain and faced tough competition from new housing options nearby for international students.
The cultural celebrations that were once International House’s specialty are also now held citywide, officials said.
The building currently has 346 dorm-type units, most arranged in 10-bedroom suites with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and lounges, and 33 apartment-style units.
CSC will increase that unit count by converting its second-story office space to apartments after their current occupants leave in 2028, JLL said. Its ground floor will be made available to office or retail tenants, the firm said.
Another section of the 1.3-acre property on which the tower stands could accommodate an additional 150,000 square feet of development without impacting the building, JLL said.
CSC, led by investors Sal and Alberto Smeke, focuses on projects in which residents live in near dorm-like conditions, with small bedrooms and shared bathrooms, cooking and dining spaces, and lounges.
Affiliates of CSC’s principals operate in the United States and Mexico with investments in over 10,000 properties, according to the JLL.
Its loan for the International House was secured from Post Road Group of Stamford, Conn., through a team at JLL’s capital markets group led by senior managing director Chad Orcutt and analyst Blaine Fleming.