20 stories, 650 bedrooms and 160 parking spots — Real estate developer reveals plans for new student housing

Nearly 10,000 students call Georgia State home. As the student body continues to grow, so does the campus and the increasing need for additional student housing.

Raymond Nestlehutt, an alumnus of Georgia State, visited a class at Georgia State last semester in November to discuss his new housing development project with students.

When Nestlehutt decided to go back to school, years after graduating high school, it was because he knew what he wanted to do in life. After selling cars and yachts for years, Nestlehutt felt he got really good at it and could do more.

While at Georgia State, Nestlehutt decided to major in real estate and joined organizations that helped with those skills.

“I decided if I am going to sell something, I should sell the most expensive thing I could sell,” Nestlehutt said.

Nestlehutt is the owner of Rayn Development Company and a co-founding partner of CityLife Development Partners.

Nestlehutt said he noticed that Georgia State was growing rapidly with students and decided to build a plan that would provide housing for some of those students. 

“Student housing is big,” he said. “Many investors see the industry as an extremely safe investment because the [student housing] market isn’t going anywhere for years.”

Nestlehutt consulted with the owner of a small lot in downtown Atlanta where he decided it would be a good place to build the student dorms and parking garage.  

The previous owner had some doubts about the lot not being big enough for this kind of project but Nestlehutt saw it differently. 

“My portion of these things is to find a site that pencils out financially and we pitch it,” he said. 

The image Nestlehutt has for this project is a 20-story building with about 246 units. It will have 650 bedrooms and 160 parking spaces. 

The location of the dorms will be in the heart of downtown Atlanta at 130 Luckie Street NW, right across from Ted’s Montana Grill.  

The plans for this new student housing project began in August 2019, but Nestlehutt said students can expect this new addition to be completed in spring 2021. 

“This project fits perfect with long term urban design; the city really wants more people, less cars,” Nestlehutt said.

In the parking garage, not every student will have access to a parking spot. This is a part of Rayn Development’s idea for all of their new student parking decks; they believe many students use public forms of transportation.

Nestlehutt did not give any other specific amenities that would be offered in this new student housing building but students can expect bike parking. 

“A lot of students are foreign and don’t have cars and rely on urban transit, [so] the youth is more amicable to living without a car,” Nestlehutt said. “With smaller sites, you have to get creative, and we had 334,000 square feet to deal with.”

Developers do not look at students as commuters who drive. Nestlehutt said that the mayor of Atlanta wants to have more space for students to live but fewer places for students to park.

“The city understands that most students do not need cars, so they allow developers, such as myself, to build less parking places for students,” Nestlehutt said.

Nestlehutt pitched this idea to Landmark, an insurance company in the Atlanta area. 

Landmark became the investor after Nestlehutt presented this project to them and now they will assist in the development.

The process to get the project rolling begins after that. Landmark looks over the pitch to make sure it fits today’s market, and then they get started on the construction for the site.

Nestlehutt and his partner and mentor Robert Patterson were the creators and developers for this project for Georgia State. 

“He got me my first start so we do every project together,” he said.

Rayn Development does not own this property, as they are only developing it.

Nestlehutt and Patterson developed the idea and then handed it off to their investor, who handles the remaining work. 

“By the time the shovel hits the dirt, it has already been sold,” Nestlehutt said.

Rayn Development also developed student dorms in Midtown on the corner of Spring Street and 10th called “The Mark.” 

Nestlehutt felt that students who are passionate about real estate should stay in the metro Atlanta area because it will soon become a prominent city for development opportunities.

“Some of the smartest people in the world have explained to me that Atlanta will be one of the greatest boom stories of my lifetime,” Nestlehutt said.