Recent News

  • Jan
    16

Ram Realty sells Raleigh apartments

January 16, 2017

By Amanda Hoyle via TBJ

A Florida real estate investment firm that’s actively been buying, selling and developing new properties across the Triangle the past year has sold its ownership in one of its largest properties in the Raleigh, the Apartments of Stonehenge on Creedmoor Road.

Real estate sources confirm that Chicago real estate investment firm Magnolia Capital has acquired from Ram Realty Services of Florida the 452-unit Stonehenge apartment community at a price of $56.7 million, or about $125,500 per unit. The deal will likely rank among the largest commercial real estate property sales in 2017.

Max Peek, CEO and managing principal of Magnolia Capital, stated in a release about the deal that he plans to continue renovations to the property started by Ram Realty in 2012. “The Apartments of Stonehenge represented an opportunity to invest in an attractive asset in a premier location,” Peek said in the release. “We have a high level of conviction in the Raleigh market going forward, and are excited to implement our business plan to further improve and modernize this community for the benefit of our residents.” Stonehenge is Magnolia Capital’s debut in the Raleigh market

The property was about 94 percent occupied at closing, according to the release.

Ram Realty had acquired Apartments of Stonehenge in 2012 for $40.2 million. Since that time it implemented about $2.5 million in improvements to the property, including an upgrade and rebranding of a 96-unit section with superior finishes now called The Reserve at Stonehenge.

Executive Voice: Ram Realty’s Casey Cummings continues aggressive push into North Carolina

The 46.6 acre property is located at 7303 Hihenge Court near the intersection of Creedmoor Road and Stonehenge Drive. It includes a two-story clubhouse with fitness center, and indoor basketball and racquetball court, three swimming pools, lighted tennis courts, a playground, fire pit, business center, and resident lounge with demo kitchen.

The HFF investment sales team representing the Ram in the deal was led by Jeff GlennJustin Good and Allan Lynch, all from the HFF Carolinas’ Raleigh office.

  • Dec
    5

Chapel Hill’s 140 West Franklin building sold

December 5, 2016

By Amanda Hoyle via Triangle Business Journal

The Florida-based developer of 140 West Franklin mixed-use building project that opened in 2013 in Chapel Hill has sold its last ownership in the commercial components of the building.

Ram Realty Services sold the building, according to county records, for nearly $9.9 million to a private equity firm affiliated with Charlotte-based Asana Partners. Asana Partners also acquired from Ram its ownership of the Design Center of the Carolinas in Charlotte, a deal valued at nearly $42 million.

In Chapel Hill, Asana’s acquisition includes the 26,000 square feet of ground floor retail and two levels of underground parking within the 8-story mixed-use building. The property also has 140 luxury condominiums (including 18 affording housing units) that were not included in the sale and a public plaza home to Exhale, a sculptural centerpiece that serves as a backdrop for local events. The project’s long-term ground lease with the town for the 1.73-acre lot has been transferred to the 140 West Franklin Condominium Association.

Ram CEO Casey Cummings in a statement about the deal said the project has motivated his firm to pursue other real estate opportunities in the Triangle. “140 West Franklin is the culmination of a decade of patience, careful capital management, and a focus on quality execution,” he stated. “We worked closely with the town and our institutional partners during the global financial crisis, and we’re delighted to have played a role in the continuing evolution of downtown Chapel Hill.”

In the Triangle, Ram Realty Services acquired in August the Village Plaza retail building in Chapel Hill and also owns the Apartments of Stonehenge in Raleigh and Pavilion East property in Durham, where it is building a 263-unit luxury apartment community on Erwin Road. The new apartments are expected to open in summer 2017.

  • Dec
    2

There’s a major new mixed-use development headed to South End

December 2, 2016

By Ely Portillo via The Charlotte Observer

When Florida-based Ram Realty Services sold the Design Center of the Carolinas for $42.7 million earlier this week, the company hung on to three acres of property around the South End center’s buildings.

Now, Ram Realty CEO Casey Cummings says the firm is focused on building a new, mixed-use development on the site, much of which is currently occupied by surface parking lots.

“Surface parking lots are really a waste of a valuable resource” in a dense, urban corridor, Cummings said. The land is along Camden Street, between Worthington Avenue and West Boulevard.

Asana Partners, the Charlotte-based company that bought the Design Center buildings, plans to convert much of the square footage to new shops and restaurants. Combined with the new Ram Realty development and other ongoing projects nearby, that whole stretch of South End will soon look much different.

Cummings, the Ram Realty CEO, said he hopes to start construction on the new mixed-use development in the second half of 2017. The details aren’t finalized, but a previously announced 150-room hotel developed in partnership with West Elm will be a key component of the project.

“We’re now turning to that,” Cummings said.

One reason the development is possible now: A new, 520-space parking deck for the Design Center is scheduled for completion in January. The parking deck was included in Asana’s purchase. That will free up the surface parking lots owned by Ram Realty, as well as provide additional parking for future development.

Cummings said the new development will include up to 300 units of multifamily housing, likely built in phases. The development will include a smaller amount of retail, perhaps 20,000 square feet, including a restaurant integrated into the hotel.

The office portion of the development will include “design-oriented” space and possibly some co-working locations, Cummings said. He pointed to 1616 Center, the five-story office building a block away by Beacon Partners, as a similar example of what his firm is trying to do.

“We’re likely going to do something of that scale, but more integrated into the mixed-use environment rather than a free-standing office building,” said Cummings.

He said Ram Realty will make sure the new development is integrated well with the existing historic structures and nearby mills of South End.

“In 50 years, it will look like it’s always been there,” said Cummings. The company is looking for more multifamily and mixed-use opportunities in Charlotte.

The Design Center used to be the Nebel Knitting Mill, which opened in 1927. The facility closed for good in 1989, and sat vacant until Tony Pressley of MECA acquired it in 1996 and turned it into creative office space.

“Development of The Design Center of the Carolinas was a labor of love for the entire MECA team and a catalyst for development in South End,” said Rob Pressley, president of Coldwell Banker Commercial MECA. Ram Realty bought the facility in 2007.

Now, Cummings said, the buildings are ready for their next phase.

“It’s really time for them to have another life,” he said.

  • Sep
    26

West Elm launching hotel in South End

September 26, 2016

By Ely Portillo via Charlotte Observer

West Elm – the furniture store – is launching a hotel in Charlotte.

Part of a national launch of boutique hotels, the company is coming to the Design Center of the Carolinas, in South End on Camden Road. West Elm is also launching hotels in Savannah, Minneapolis, Indianapolis and Detroit. They’ll open in late 2018.

The Charlotte hotel will include 150 rooms, a rooftop pool, meeting space, a restaurant, lounge and bar. A “community-inspired, locally sourced event” will be held at the hotel weekly, open to both local residents and hotel guests.

Ram Real Estate, which owns the Design Center, said the hotel will be new construction on the site. West Elm operates a furniture and home furnishings store nearby, in the Metropolitan complex.

“We’re excited that West Elm Hotel shares our vision for South End,” said Casey Cummings, Ram CEO, in a statement. “Our commitment to Charlotte has never been stronger and we look forward to collaborating with the entire West Elm team.”
The South End hotel will join a growing lineup of hotels under development outside of uptown but near center city. Kimpton is building a 128-room hotel on Worthington Avenue in Dilworth, and a 120-room hotel is planned at Kingston Avenue and South Tryon.

Opening a chain of hotels might seem like an odd move for a furniture seller. But West Elm said it’s interested in moving beyond furniture sales into a new market. The hotels will feature local design elements and cuisine, as well as locally commissioned artwork in each guest room and common areas. The furnishings and artwork will be available for guests to buy online as well.

West Elm said it was attracted to the warehouses, food trucks and local businesses in South End.

“After twenty-six consecutive quarters of double-digit comparative growth, including our successful entry into the commercial furnishings market with West Elm Workspace, we’ve created an active bond with our customers that can extend beyond home and work,” said Jim Brett, president of West Elm, in a statement. “By adapting the framework design of each hotel to reflect the mood and identity of its host city, we will continue to engage the adventurous spirit of our customers as they follow us to our next level of hospitality.”

Brooklyn-based West Elm is partnering with hotel operator DDK, which oversees a portfolio of 70 properties, on the West Elm Hotels project.

“There is a growing desire among modern travelers to immerse themselves in the place they are visiting. They want a boutique experience, and expect great, reliable service that caters to their needs,” said David Bowd, co-founder of DDK. “Our general managers will serve as innkeepers, and West Elm Hotels will focus on making real community connections for visitors and residents alike.”

  • Sep
    22

Multifamily Forecast: Stormy or Calm Seas

September 22, 2016

via DBR

Florida’s multifamily developers are shrinking units, inflating amenities and maneuvering around traditionally accepted parking requirements to keep rents high and building costs down in today’s pricey construction market.

“Units will get smaller,” said William Hamilton, executive vice president of Boston-based Winthrop Management. “And they have to be sexy.”

The major players shaping Florida’s multifamily arena gathered Thursday to forecast what’s in store for the rental realm over the next year. About 700 attendees were expected at the fifth annual Florida Multifamily Summit in Hollywood.

With construction costs at an all-time high and thousands of apartments under construction in South Florida, Art Falcone said lenders are pulling back in response. He is CEO and chairman of the Falcone Group and a principal of Miami Worldcenter Associates, which is developing a sprawling mixed-use project in downtown Miami.

“I will tell you that capital providers have pulled back dramatically so, on the condo side, that is drying up very quickly,” he said.

But the spigot is not completely off. Coincidentally, Boca Raton-based Banyan Commercial Capital LLC on Thursday announced the closing of a $38.8 million construction loan for the 250-unit Aura Seaside on the Intracoastal Waterway at 1400 Dixie Highway in Lantana by a subsidiary of Dallas-based Trinsic Residential Group L.P. The loan came from a bank group led by TD Bank N.A.

Banyan principal Michael Brown said the challenge in securing the loan was the timing. “Most construction lenders have reached their multifamily quotas for the cycle,” he said in a news release.

The statewide rental market, however, shows no signs of overbuilding, said Casey Cummings, CEO of Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram Realty Services. Most of the homes are under development in response to demand. Overall occupancy rates, especially in South Florida downtown markets, now stand at 95 percent to 96 percent, Cummings said.

While occupancy rates prove apartment demand is strong, rental growth is expected to slow over the next year, he said. Rents could rise 2 percent to 3 percent rather than the 5 percent to 8 percent annual hike seen over the last couple of years.

Peaking rental rates have catalyzed vigorous investment in South Florida’s apartment communities. Investors have poured nearly $4 billion into Miami-Dade County’s multifamily market over the last 12 months.

“Only recently did apartments become the darling of institutional capital,” Cummings said. “It wasn’t like that 15 years ago. It was office buildings and shopping centers. It feels good to be in this spot.”

The buyer pool for completed apartment assets has shrunk, however. Cummings characterized the next year as a “light chop with eight knots out of the east” in response to the title of the panel, “Stormy Water or Calm Seas?”

Falcone said South Florida is considered a top-tier market around the world.

“We’ll continue to be the safety deposit box for the world,” he said.

  • Sep
    6

New apartments on North Davidson St. breaking ground in November

September 6, 2016

via The Charlotte Observer by Ely Portillo

A joint venture of two development firms plans to start construction in November on a new apartment building and mixed-use development planned at 27th and North Davidson streets.

Florida-based Ram Realty and Charlotte-based CitiSculpt are partnering on the project, which will include 250 apartments in a new, five-story building and the renovation of an existing commercial building on the site, currently home to Free Range Brewing.

The companies purchased the 3.6-acre parcel of land for $4.95 million, in a deal that closed this week, according to real estate records. Capstone Apartment Partners brokered the sale.

The developers plan to open the new development in 2018. The apartments will be located two blocks from the 25th Street Blue Line light rail extension station, which is scheduled to begin service next summer.

“Our goal is to build a unique and attractive community that complements the vibrant character of the neighborhood,” said David Klepser, Ram’s lead developer on the deal, in a statement. “We’re exploring distinguishing architectural styles, industrial-modern finishes, and ways to integrate the new development with the existing commercial building.”

The apartment building will include studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments and 2,000 square feet of retail space. Amenities at the project will include a pool, spa deck and a 24-hour gym. “The development’s primary draw is its location,” Ram said in a news release.

Interest in the area has “skyrocketed” since the Blue Line extension was announced, said Ram CEO Casey Cummings. There are now 1,573 new apartments under construction or planned along the Blue Line route between uptown and 36th Street, in neighborhoods including Villa Heights, Optimist Park and NoDa.

Ram and CitiSculpt both have developed other projects in Charlotte. Ram owns the Design Center of the Carolinas in South End and Rock Creek at Ballantyne Commons, and is a partner in Midtown 205, the apartment development at Kings Drive and Third Street. CitiSculpt, through its affiliate Southern Apartment Group, has developed or partnered on apartment projects in Dilworth, Mountain Island Lake, Ballantyne and West Morehead street.

  • Aug
    12

Trader Joe’s? Publix?: New construction and new market heading to Woodlands Square

August 12, 2016

via the Tampa Bay Times by Piper Castillo

OLDSMAR — Trader Joe’s? Safeway? Whole Foods Market?

Although the name has yet to be revealed, hurdles are being cleared to give Oldsmar a new place to load up on groceries. Although the specific store has not been identified, other facts have been disclosed, including the exact location. Its home will be Woodlands Square, right next to Beall’s.

The City Council recently approved a development agreement with Woodlands Square Community Reinvestment Partners allowing for the renovation of the shopping center at 3130 Tampa Road. The center, more than 30 years old, is about a half-mile from Canal Park and is most known for AMC Woodlands 20, a popular movie theater last renovated in 2000.

In front of the council, Mark Van Dyke, the director of development for Ram Realty Services, owner of Woodlands Square, reviewed the timeline for the project, with a goal of opening for business by September 2017.

“We are securing the grocery store,” he said. “We plan to start demolition right after the first of the year. We’ll get through the holiday season and will then commence on construction of the grocery store.”

Along with the mystery store, new construction of another retail space, totalling 10,500 square feet, is also planned. Brian Maloney, managing director of Ram Reality, said the standalone store will be at the center of the current parking lot and will serve as a connecting point. It will be a store where people will want to enter after leaving Beall’s, for example, shop through and exit towards Marshalls without having to walk too far.

“Right now there’s a lot of parking lot space, and this will be a store that moves people from one part of the shopping center to another easier,” he said.

To make way for new construction, a portion of the west side of Woodlands Square, with several vacant stores, will be torn down. Current tenants on the west side will be moved to another site on the property.

The project also includes updating storefront exteriors as well as renovating some of the interior of the movie theater, including widening the aisles.

Another highlight will be a constructed pathway with signage to improve pedestrian and bike access between Woodlands Square and Canal Park, with its BMX Supercross track and sports fields.

“The details haven’t been worked out yet, but the idea of including a walkway came about from the idea of connecting the community’s open space with the community’s shopping space,” Maloney said.

  • Aug
    4

Ram buys Triangle shopping center

August 4, 2016

via The Triangle Business Journal by Amanda Hoyle

A Florida real estate investment and development firm has paid $17.75 million for a Chapel Hill shopping center that’s in the heart of ongoing redevelopment within the Ephesus-Fordham District in Chapel Hill.

Ram Realty Services has bought the Village Plaza retail center building anchored by O2 Fitness and a series of small shops on Elliott Road from an investment fund long-managed by Mark Properties of Durham.

The nearly 68,000-square-foot retail center was 95 percent occupied at the time of the deal. Other tenants include Great Harvest Bread, Market Street Coffee and Monterrey Mexican.

The property, built in 1965, is south of the Whole Foods-anchored retail center also called Village Plaza, as well as the new Village Plaza Apartments project being developed by East West Partners of Chapel Hill. The new apartment building is adding 265 new apartment units and another 15,000 square feet of retail space once complete, plus a parking deck for residents and retail shoppers.

In 2014, Chapel Hill Town Council created the Ephesus-Fordham District, a 190-acre zoning district that stretches along E. Franklin Street, Ephesus Church Road and Fordham Boulevard that has its own form-based code. The new rules were designed to encourage redevelopment of the retail strip centers, parking lots and confusing roadways built up over time in the area since the 1950s.

The Village Plaza acquisition is the second major investment by Ram Realty Partners in the Triangle in the past year. The group also acquired the mixed-use Pavilion East complex in Erwin Road in Durham in December for $41 million and is developing a 263-unit apartment building on the Durham property.

“Our confidence in the Triangle’s long-term growth prospects has never been higher,” stated Ram CEO Casey Cummings in a news release about the deal. “The Triangle’s unique combination of higher learning institutions and respected employers has created attractive economic conditions for development and value-add investment.”

Mike Burkard and Steve Shields of CBRE’s Charlotte office represented the seller, Mark Properties, in the transaction.

  • 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.