Case Studies

Trey Caudle – Campus Life & Style

Senior construction director adds abundant amenities to student housing

Trey Caudle admits there are times he’s a bit envious of the people who benefit from the work he does as senior director of construction at Campus Life & Style.

But it’s understandable. Campus Life & Style, headquartered in Austin, Texas, owns and operates student housing communities throughout the U.S. In fact, there are so many that Caudle relies on construction directors Jonathan Warner and Stephen Terry to manage the construction and renovation projects the company takes on.

He’s envious because the communities offer amenities uncommon to student housing—including adding a Turkish sauna and cryotherapy chamber to the adjacent Sol y Luna communities that are home to University of Arizona students in Tucson.

“The fun part is that while there are industry standards for student living, like furnishings in an apartment, everything else is about creating a great living experience and enabling people to have fun in safe areas,” Caudle says.

Designed for amenities

Campus Life & Style was founded in Austin in 2016 by Elliot J. Tamir and Isaac J. Sitt. The company manages more than 28,000 beds in a portfolio of 35 communities across 17 states. This includes Auden Albany at the State University of New York Albany, and State Side, a community for students of San Diego State that’s scheduled to open for the coming fall semester.

Caudle, who joined Campus Life & Style in July 2022, says he was drawn to the role because of the vision for student housing Tamir and Sitt have executed. In his role, he is responsible for all aspects of renovating and refreshing properties.

However, the renovations involve more than new roofs or new carpeting as Campus Life & Style has introduced what it calls the Autograph Collection featuring interior designs by Jon Call. According to the company website, the design is inspired by boutique hotels, and it’s the amenities that add some challenges to Caudle’s work.

“As soon as you walk out your front door, there are things to make you part of the community,” he says.

Hot coffee and a place to chill

In Tucson, the adjacent Sol y Luna communities are high rises with 14 and 13 floors respectively. Each offers apartments from studios to four bedrooms. According to Caudle, the communities embody the Autograph Collection in how they’ve been refurbished in the past couple of years. Upgrades and improvements have included new flooring and carpets, mailboxes, furniture, pool equipment and cabanas.

The upgrades include touches that make Campus Life & Style distinctive, Caudle says. That includes the JIM fitness centers with indoor and outdoor workout spaces open 24 hours. Each center has cardio and weight machines, free weights and yoga studios.

The fitness centers at Sol y Luna will soon be joined by the new Hammam, or Turkish-style steam bath and cryotherapy chamber, where residents can relax or (literally) chill out after a workout. The heated bath is 14 feet by 20 feet with a stone island in the middle to produce temperatures reaching 100 degrees with 100 percent humidity. The cryotherapy units drop to 180 degrees below zero. Caudle says the areas will be open in late August.

Each building also has unique coffee bars and gathering spaces called “The Joe.” Two are in Luna and one in Sol, and feature brewing machines with touch pads offering residents a variety of coffee blends, milk and syrups for flavoring. Each building also has a library and private study areas, and residents will soon be able to mingle at the Sky Lounge on the 14th floor at Sol, which is expected to open this summer. The second floors of Sol y Luna also have convenience markets.

“I’m not inventing anything even though I’ve never built a Turkish bath house,” Caudle says. “We want to be on the leading edge of the industry. We’re always looking to innovate and we really like to try new things that others aren’t doing.”

Proactive preservation

While wrapping up the renovations at Sol y Luna, Caudle was also hitting the road to plan capital and maintenance projects throughout the Campus Life & Style portfolio. Warner and Terry help plan and carry out work that ranges from repaving parking lots to replacing roofs as needed. At the company’s four Florida communities, they’ve been upgrading landscaping such as raising canopies, refitting irrigation systems with new ponds and fountain pumps, and adding new entries and landscaping.

Caudle says geography helps determine amenities, too. While touches like game rooms, some including video golf, are found throughout the portfolio, at a community such as 20 Hawley in Binghamton, New York, indoor activities including the 24-hour fitness center are crucial because of the area’s colder climate.

Campus Life & Style is also working to operate more sustainably by adding LED lighting and installing low-flow devices, insulating plumbing, and cleaning ducts, coils and dryer vents.

“We do these things for asset preservation and we do them proactively,” he says. “We follow a planned refresh schedule and are aggressive and strategic about what we do and how we do it.”

It’s the all-stars

Caudle started working in construction in his family’s company, Cox Masonry and Steel in Phenix City, Alabama, when he was only 12—an age when residents of Campus Life & Style’s portfolio were just beginning to navigate middle school.

He cleaned up jobsites and helped set blocks and steel for projects throughout high school, and moved into leadership when he became a foreman in May 2008. While there, Caudle also earned his associate degree in heating, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration from Columbus Technical College.

In May 2014, Caudle joined Cardone Capital as a project manager and led multifamily housing projects. He also guided projects for commercial properties including multifamily and student-style living as a project manager for Contractors Inc. from May 2018 to November 2020.

Caudle, who met his wife when he was 19, also enjoys playing guitar and tinkering with trucks. At work, he prefers to credit his teams for the essential and innovative work they do at Campus Life & Style’s communities.

“I have a team of all-stars,” Caudle says. “They handle everything from budget creation, scope development, planning, inception, execution and closing for our projects.”

View this feature in the Blueprint Vol. VIII 2023 Edition here.

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