Recent News

  • 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.

  • 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.”

  • May
    4

Durham retail center sells for $16.8 million

May 4, 2016

via Triangle Business Journal by Amanda Hoyle

A Kroger-anchored shopping center at the corner of U.S. 70 and North LaSalle Street in Durham has been sold to a Texas real estate investor for $18.6 million – a 67 percent premium over the price that was paid for the property in 2009.

Epic Real Estate Partners of Austin, Texas, acquired the Durham Festival retail center in Durham from an affiliate of Florida-based Ram Realty Services, according to county records.

Ram had bought the 134,000-square-foot property from a public REIT during the global financial crisis for only $11.1 million and shortly thereafter set about a renovation of the property and expansion of several tenants. The Kroger store also added a fuel station and remodeled its own anchor location.

Durham Festival was 89 percent occupied at the time of sale to Epic, and the shopping center is so far its only real estate asset in North Carolina. Other tenants at the center include Dollar General, Dunkin Donuts, and SunTrust Bank.

David WebbRob CarterAlex Quarrier and Rad von Werssowetz of Berkeley Capital Advisors of Charlotte assisted Ram Realty in the transaction.

“We are excited about this outcome and the positive impact for the fund and for our institutional partners,” stated Ram CEO Casey Cummings in a news release about the deal with Epic. “We were able to deploy capital during a difficult time, allowing us to acquire quality real estate at a discount and create value through the downturn. We are continuing to invest in other exciting opportunities throughout the Triangle.”

Ram Realty Services also announced that it has broken ground on the next phase of development at Pavilion East in Durham. Ram in December had acquired Pavilion East, a 97,000-square-foot office, condo and retail building with a 700-space parking deck. It will be building next a 263-unit luxury apartment development on the property. Pre-leasing for its first units is expected to begin in spring 2017.

  • Apr
    27

Altis Sand Lake Becomes Largest Green Certified Multifamily Community in Orlando

April 27, 2016

via Multifamilybiz.com

ORLANDO, FL – The Altman Companies has a lot to celebrate in Orlando. It just finished up construction on the 315-unit Altís Sand Lake in the Dr. Phillips neighborhood.  A ceremony was held Wednesday, April 13 at Altís Sand Lake and at the same time, the company was awarded the National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Green Certification by Michael Luzier, president and CEO of Home Innovation Research Labs.

Altís Sand Lake is the largest NGBS Green Certified multifamily community in Orlando, in terms of number of certified buildings. The development has 13 separate buildings.

The NGBS is an ANSI-approved national rating system used to gauge the performance of residential construction based on six key categories: energy efficiency; water efficiency; resource efficiency; lot development; operation and maintenance; and indoor air quality.

NGBS Green Certification is provided by Home Innovation Research Labs, an accredited third-party testing and certification agency and an independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.

Altís Sand Lake is an amenity-rich, luxury rental community with one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes. Some of the key green features include programmable thermostats with humidistats, high-efficiency water heaters, individual unit electric meters and sub-meters, 100 percent energy-efficient designer lighting, and ENERGY STAR refrigerators.  All of these features allow renters to use less energy and save money on their power bills.

Altís Sand Lake saves enough energy to power 41 homes per year, saves enough water to fill 60 swimming pools per year and diverts 159 tons of waste from landfills per year.

“We are very proud that our company has achieved its first NGBS Green Certification,” said Joel Altman, chairman of The Altman Companies. “We at Altman are committed to see that our residents have an Exceptional Living Experience, and we are also environmentally conscious and care about a sustainable lifestyle. At Altís Sand Lake, we are able to give our residents both.”

“Attaining our third-party ‘seal of approval’ allows quality-minded builders like The Altman Companies to distinguish their properties from the competition,” according to Luzier. “Earning NGBS Green Certification means going beyond what’s simply required by code, to provide consumers with a better place to call home – an energy cost-saving, healthier, and more comfortable place to live. I applaud Altman for making this commitment at Altís Sand Lake for the benefit of its renters and the larger community.”

  • Apr
    21

Ram Realty Trades Plantation Shopping Center

April 21, 2016

via The Real Deal by Sean Stewart-Muniz

Ram Realty just sold its Plantation shopping center anchored by Publix for $29.3 million.

The deal includes Jacaranda Plaza, a 173,044-square-foot shopping center at 8171-8373 West Sunrise Boulevard near the Sunrise Country Club.

Ram acquired the center out of foreclosure in 2012, according to county records. The real estate firm then put $1 million into renovating Jacaranda Plaza and its facades.

Now, through a deed recorded this week, Ram sold the shopping center to an affiliate of Texas-based Epic Real Estate Partners.

The investment firm, which specializes in buying grocery-anchored shopping centers, paid about $169 per square foot for Jacaranda Plaza. It financed the deal with a $19.95 million loan from BankUnited, according to county records.

Besides its newly acquired Plantation property, Epic owns one other Florida property: the 176,341-square-foot Alafaya Square in Oviedo, a small city in Seminole County.

The company’s counterpart in this deal, Ram, grabbed headlines late last year when it sold a newly built Boca Raton apartment complex for nearly $82 million. The firm has since bought another development site in Boynton Beach for $15.75 million, where it’s planning a new Class A rental community.

  • Apr
    20

HFF closes $29.3 million sale of and arranges $19.9 million financing for Fort Lauderdale-area retail center

April 20, 2016

MIAMI, FL  – Holliday Fenoglio Fowler, L.P. (HFF) announced today that it has closed the $29.3 million sale of Jacaranda Plaza, and secured $19.9 million in acquisition financing. The 173,044-square-foot, Publix-anchored retail center is located on 16.20 acres at 8249 West Sunrise Boulevard in the Fort Lauderdale-area community of Plantation, Florida. Situated on the “going home” side of Sunrise, the center is at the signalized intersection of University Drive and Sunrise with combined traffic counts of more than 105,000 vehicles per day.

HFF marketed the property on behalf of the seller, Ram Realty Services (Ram). Epic Real Estate Partners purchased the asset. Additionally, working on behalf of the new owner, HFF placed the five-year, 3.6-percent, fixed-rate loan with BankUnited.

The HFF investment sales team representing the seller was led by senior managing director Daniel Finkle, managing director Luis Castillo and associate director Nat Scarmazzi.

The HFF debt placement team representing the new owner was led by senior managing director Paul Stasaitis and managing director Adam Herrin.

Originally developed in 1974, Ram acquired interest in Jacaranda Plaza in October 2011 on behalf of Ram Realty Partners III through the purchase of a promissory note. Ram took title to the property in early 2012 through foreclosure.

Ram completed significant improvements to Jacaranda Plaza in 2013, including façade enhancements, fresh landscaping, and roof replacement. Ram also added Planet Fitness and Dollar Tree to an already-strong tenant mix including anchors Publix and Stein Mart, and a diverse mix of shop tenants, such as Regions Bank, T-Mobile, GNC and Gamestop. The shopping center was 86-percent occupied at the time of sale.

“Jacaranda Plaza is a remarkable success story for the Fund,” said Ram President Jim Stine. “We were able to secure a sub-performing loan at a significant discount and implement a value-add strategy that saw major improvements to the center. This is the type of retail deal we continue to pursue: we want to deploy our people and our capital in a way that creates a real impact in our core, urban markets and generates positive results for our investors.”

  • Apr
    18

Mainstreet at Midtown Introduces Five New Tenants

April 18, 2016

Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., April 18, 2016 – Ram Realty Services and Mainstreet at Midtown are excited to introduce five new restaurants and shops coming to Midtown in 2016. Blaze Pizza, OXXO Care Cleaners, and Iconic Eye Care Center are open for business. Bonefish Grill and 18/8 Fine Men’s Salon are scheduled to open in August 2016. The new tenants occupy a combined 13,078 square feet bringing total occupancy at Midtown to 96.5%, the highest in the mixed-use center’s history.

Midtown’s newest tenants will join a host of prominent shops and restaurants including Christopher’s Kitchen, Chipotle, J. Alexander’s, III Forks Steakhouse, Saito’s Japanese Steakhouse, California Closets, Gymboree Play & Music, and JFK Emergency Care Services.

Midtown’s New Tenants

Iconic Eye Care Center brings the Palm Beach area the finest in exceptional eye examinations combined with innovative and exciting eyewear from the best brands and independent designers from around the world. Iconic Eye Care’s own Dr. Adam Ramsey travels the world to view eyewear, searching for unique pieces not found elsewhere. Iconic unites form, fashion, and function to deliver the best eye care experience.

OXXO Care Cleaners is the ultimate in garment care with their dedication to quality service, the most technologically advanced garment care equipment, and environmentally friendly solvents. OXXO provides the convenience of round-the-clock service; drop off your clothes any time and access them any time using their Automatic Retrieval Machines. OXXO also uses non-toxic solvents that provide superior garment care without harming you, your clothes, or the environment.

Blaze Pizza fast fires top quality pizza at lightening quick speed. The creation of Executive Chef Bradford Kent, Blaze stocks their pizza assembly line with made-from-scratch dough, and healthy, artisanal ingredients. Get inventive with hundreds of custom pizza combinations or opt for one of the classics. Either way, your crisp, cooked-to-perfection pie will be ready to enjoy in 180 seconds.

Bonefish Grill specializes in market-fresh fish from around the world as well as savory wood-grilled specialties and hand-crafted cocktails. The Bonefish experience is based on the premise of simplicity, consistency and strong commitment to being incredible at every level. Founded over 15 years ago in St. Petersburg, Florida, Bonefish is proud to call Florida home and welcomes you to their newest Palm Beach Gardens location.

18/8 Fine Men’s Salon is the reinvention of the barbershop, designed to bring out the best in men. Thanks to their expertise in men’s hair care, styling, grooming products, and consultation, 18/8 provides the best services in a relaxing environment. 18/8 Salon is your trusted stop for a professional grooming experience.

About Midtown

Midtown is Palm Beach Gardens’ premier mixed-use community, embodying the “live-work-play” philosophy. Located on PGA Boulevard just west of Military Trail, Midtown boasts 96,000 square feet of nationally recognized restaurants, specialty boutique retail, and inviting event space, adjacent to a distinct condominium neighborhood. Midtown also hosts fun and exciting family events including Music on the Plaza, Eat to the Beat Food Truck Festival, and the Peace, Love and Wellness Festival. For more information visit http://www.midtownpga.com.