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Colliers Arranges $1.2 Billion Refinancing for GCU

Transaction Size Marks Largest RE Deal in Arizona History

Colliers International Mortgage Advisory, LLC in Phoenix has arranged the $1.2 billion financing with Barclays for Grand Canyon University to both refinance the secured note that was issued in 2018 as part of the purchase of the University related to its transition back to 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit status and to refinance other capital expenditures.

The deal refinances loans for the university to take advantage of lower interest rates, resulting in significant interest cost savings. The $1.2 billion transaction marks the largest real estate deal in the history of Arizona.

“The scope of this refinancing is pretty significant in the higher education bond market and speaks to GCU’s solid financial performance in the three years since reverting to our historical nonprofit status,” GCU President Brian Mueller said. “This will help in our efforts to continue to freeze tuition costs on campus, which we have done for 14 straight years, while also continuing to invest in academic infrastructure in order to keep up with the growth of the University.

The initial interest-only note, which was due in 2025, allowed GCU to purchase all of the tangible and intangible assets comprising the University’s campus from Grand Canyon Education (GCE). Refinancing the note early allows GCU to take advantage of today’s lower interest rates and realize substantial interest cost savings.

“The blending of GCU’s industry leading higher education platform and its sizable real estate campus made this financing extremely attractive to both bond buyers and lenders,” said Bob Kline, SW Area Debt & Equity Leader and Managing Director with Colliers. “To my knowledge this is the largest real estate related financing ever completed in the state of Arizona and could not have been executed without GCU’s innovative approach to higher education. Due to the size of the financing request, the entire team set up this unique finance structure by utilizing the bond markets with more room to incorporate future tax exempt and conventional financing to support GCU’s continued growth.

We were able to achieve the $1.2 billion capital raise for the client with the impressive collaboration of the entire team, including the law firm of Ballard Spahr.”