June 2016

  • Jun
    25

Ram sells Rock Creek Vinings & Ashford in Atlanta, GA

June 25, 2016

Atlanta, GA – June 24, 2016 – Ram Realty Services is pleased to announce the combined sale of two apartment communities in the greater Atlanta area: Rock Creek at Vinings and its sister property, Rock Creek at Ashford. Atlantic & Pacific Management purchased both communities. Walker & Dunlop marketed the property on behalf of the seller; Pat Jones and Chris Goldsmith led the investment sales team.

Rock Creek at Vinings is situated off Atlanta Road in the Smyrna area, conveniently located near Home Depot’s corporate headquarters as well as SunTrust Field and the Cobb Center Galleria. Residents of the 403-unit garden-style community enjoy two resort-style pools, an outdoor kitchen, tennis courts, a 24-hour fitness center, and luxuriously appointed apartments with high ceilings, wood plank flooring, granite countertops, and fully equipped stainless steel kitchens.

The comparably equipped 222-unit Rock Creek at Ashford is located in the affluent Brookhaven neighborhood off Ashford Dunwoody Road. The community is less than a mile from the Central Perimeter office market (Atlanta’s largest office market), the Perimeter Mall, and multiple major hospitals.

Rock Creek at Vinings and Rock Creek at Ashford were constructed by Post Properties in 1991 and 1987, respectively. In 2008 a partnership between Met Life and Greystar purchased the two properties and implemented light interior upgrades.

Ram acquired the communities in January 2014 on behalf of Ram Realty Partners III, one of the Company’s discretionary private equity funds. Following the acquisition, Ram rebranded the properties as “Rock Creek” and commenced significant interior renovations. Unit upgrades included a unique three-tiered finish package to suit renters of varying tastes and budgets. Ram also addressed key deferred maintenance items and enhanced amenity areas including the pool, clubhouse, fitness area, and green space at both locations. Rock Creek at Ashford was 95-percent occupied at the time of sale and Rock Creek at Vinings was 96-percent occupied.

“Strong property-level performance combined with the right strategy and ideal market conditions made this result possible,” said Jennifer Stull, Managing Director of Asset Management for Ram. “We had an opportunity to modernize two aging communities in great locations and renters really responded to the added value. We are excited about Atlanta and are actively searching for other investment opportunities in the area.”

Ram continues to expand its portfolio despite the recent sales; the Company currently owns or operates over 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and 3,000 multifamily units. Ram is currently investing capital on behalf of Ram Realty Partners IV, with several active projects in Florida (Orlando, West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Doral, and Hollywood) and North Carolina (Durham and Charlotte).

 

  • Jun
    20

Ram and Pinnacle deliver Hollywood’s first Class A apartments in 15 years

June 20, 2016

via The Real Deal by Sean Stewart-Muniz

Developers Ram Realty Services and the Pinnacle Housing Group have officially opened Parc Station, their new luxury apartment community in Hollywood.

The developers announced Friday that their 336-unit project was open for business and accepting tenants. Leasing had begun two weeks prior, and about 30 tenants have signed agreements so far.

Ram said in a release that this is the first Class A apartment community of its size to be built in Hollywood in the last 15 years.

Transit is a big selling point for Parc Station: it’s located at 2300 North 29th Avenue, less than a mile away from the Sheridan Street Tri-Rail Station and from I-95. Amenities for the project include a community pool with cabanas, 24-hour fitness center, outdoor kitchen and a clubhouse.

Units at the development come in one-, two- and three-bedroom configurations, with rents starting at $1,550 per month.

As part of their development agreement with the city, Ram and Pinnacle gifted 6 acres of nearby land to convert a former trailer park to a public green space called the Charles F. Vollman Park, which features walking paths and a pond.

Ram also pitched in $50,000 to renovate the historic Coral Rock House in the park at a later date.

Parc Station is the latest project of Ram’s to open in South Florida. The developer, which has offices in both Dania Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, recently broke ground on a 350-unit project in Boynton Beach named Cortina.

The company is also an active investor, having recently sold a Plantation shopping centeranchored by Publix for $29 million.

Its partner for Parc Station, Pinnacle, is an apartment builder headquartered in Miami. The company has developed some 8,000 units in the Southeastern United States since it was founded in 1997.

  • Jun
    6

Chapel Hill is for rent

June 6, 2016

by Mark Zimmerman via The News & Observer 

Why apartments? The fourth building at East 54. Most of Obey Creek. The Edge. The Alexan on Elliott Road. Amity Station. American Legion. The housing approved or proposed for all these developments will be rented, not owned.

As a college town, apartments have long been a large percentage of Chapel Hill’s housing stock. Currently, 51.4 percent of housing units are not occupied by owners. But the recent trend to focus almost exclusively on rental development will meaningfully increase that share.

Before the recession, Chapel Hill’s major new developments centered on selling instead of renting. From Southern Village and Meadowmont to the first three phases of East 54, Greenbridge and 140 West Franklin, single-family homes, townhouses and condominiums dominated our landscape.

What changed? Both national and local trends caused the shift.

Nationally, the great recession changed people’s housing habits and financiers’ lending patterns. People who lost their homes couldn’t buy another. Millennials didn’t have the jobs or income to purchase a home, and many were leary of the investment after seeing what happened to their parents’ generation. They were forced to rent, but many did so gladly.

Meanwhile lenders faced new federal loan restrictions. The hangover from empty half-finished condo buildings lingers to this day. (140 West Franklin was one of only a handful of large condo projects nationally to be built after the recession hit. It was largely self-funded by the developer.)

Combining those trends led to concentrating on multi-family apartment complexes. Post-recession rental demand was up, and developers and financiers answered it. Apartment construction has been the strongest sector of commercial development for several years.

Areas like Chapel Hill are particularly attractive to this investment for several reasons. First, our supply of housing has been artificially constricted by policy for decades, so pent-up demand allows for premium-priced (i.e. luxury) projects. That’s fortunate for investors because of the cost of scarce, developable land and additional expenses incurred in our special-use permitting process. New construction must be high end to be financially successful here.

Low supply and high demand also drives up the price of housing in Chapel Hill. The average price of a house in our school district is 33.9 percent more than in Wake County and 75.6 percent more than in Durham. That leaves some who would could afford to buy a home elsewhere unable to qualify here. They have no choice but to rent, adding to the apartment demand.

The national trend to apartments is beginning to soften, but demand in submarkets like Chapel Hill will continue to fuel it here. It is our “new normal”; our future growth path, like it or not.

The shift to apartments isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Smaller, luxury apartments don’t attract many families with children, meaning they don’t require as many government services as some traditional detached housing does. More apartments are also needed to house the employees of businesses we are trying to attract. New businesses won’t move here unless their workers can move here also.

Due to our high costs, today’s new apartments will be luxury priced. But that’s a temporary issue because they will become tomorrow’s more affordable ones. As apartments age, they become relatively less expensive. When we largely stopped building apartments for at least a decade, we created a gap in our pricing. We now have new expensive units and very old low-end units. The middle class is left out because we didn’t keep building. The current Town Council is about to repeat that mistake if it refuses to continue approving new projects. Our pipeline barely keeps pace with historic low growth.

There’s not much from a policy standpoint that can change this trend to becoming more of a rental community. Instead, we should take advantage of it. Areas like Ephesus-Fordham, where we have already committed to more dense commercial development, need a lot more residential units within walking distance to change from a suburban-like strip mall to becoming a second town center. Apartments are a great solution.

For once let’s stop fighting the market and use it to help achieve our strategic goals instead.

  • Jun
    3

Ram begins construction on Boynton apartments with $47MM loan

June 3, 2016

By Sean Stewart-Muniz via The Real Deal

With $47 million worth of financing in hand, Ram Realty has begun construction on its modern-style Cortina apartment complex in Boynton Beach.

The developer simultaneously closed on its loan from JPMorgan Chase Bank and filed a notice of commencement to break ground on the complex Friday, according to county property records.

Cortina will be a seven-building complex with a combined 350 luxury units on the eastern side of Renaissance Commons Boulevard, between Old Boynton Road and East Gateway Boulevard.

Though rental rates have yet to be released, Ram has said the community will boast amenities like a 24-hour fitness center, clubhouse, business lounge, outdoor kitchen, children’s playground, pool and spa area.

The news follows Ram’s $15.75 million acquisition of the 14.4-acre Cortina development site in March. Ram seems to working on schedule as it said at the time Cortina would break ground in May, with an estimated completion date in Spring 2017.

The project will be part of the 45-acre Boynton Village development that’s slated to bring more than 1,000 condos, apartments and single-family homes to the city.

“We are excited to begin construction at the Cortina site and bring a modern take to Class A apartments in Boynton Beach,” Hugo Pacanins, manaaging director of multifamily development at Ram, said in a statement. “Residents will enjoy a walkable lifestyle that is rare in Boynton Beach in addition to a host of best-in-class amenities.”