commercial real estate

  • Apr
    8

A Rising Multifamily Movement

April 8, 2016

via The Real Deal by Mike Seemuth

While sales of South Florida condominiums have begun to soften, the brisk pace of rental apartment construction appears unlikely to wind down any-
time soon.

The speed of such construction continues to accelerate in South Florida, especially in suburban locations in Broward County, as the pool of renters deepens amid population growth, new employment opportunities and reduced demand for home ownership.

The national real estate brokerage Marcus & Millichap forecasts that 10,200 new apartments will come to market in the tri-county region this year, compared to 8,700 in 2015, marking a 17 percent increase. The firm expects 5,500 new apartments to open this year in Miami-Dade County alone, plus another 4,700 units in Broward County and Palm Beach County combined.

The Miami-based Related Group, one of the largest multifamily developers in the United States in recent years, has built 2,700 rental apartments — mostly in South Florida — since 2010. The firm’s rental development division, Related Development, has another 4,000 units in the pipeline.

“The whole notion of the great American dream meaning owning a home is over,” Related Development’s president and chief executive officer, Steve Patterson, told The Real Deal. “Financial independence and quality of life has become much more important.”

Most of the rental apartments that Related has built in the last six years are located in Fort Lauderdale and other Broward municipalities, including Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, Pembroke Pines and Plantation. Broward County is one of the top three markets in the country for luxury rentals, Patterson noted. “I think there’s still a lot of depth there,” he said.

In South Florida market forecasts, based on data from CoStar Group and Real Capital Analytics, Marcus & Millichap said it expects apartment owners in Broward and Palm Beach to collect higher average rents than their counterparts in Miami-Dade this year — largely due to population growth and employment growth. The brokerage projected monthly rents in 2016 to average $1,476 in Palm Beach and $1,500 in Broward, compared to $1,355 in Miami-Dade, and expects those higher figures to encourage more apartment development in the two counties.

Amaray Las Olas, a 30-story rental building with 254 apartment units, is planned for an April opening in downtown Fort Lauderdale. The property will tower over a cluster of newer apartment buildings in the Flagler Village area just north of the city’s downtown.

“A lot of what you see is eight-story [buildings] or below, so 30 stories will offer city views, Intracoastal Waterway views and ocean views that are unmatched,” said Jeff McDonough, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Residential Group, which is developing the property in a joint venture with the New York-based Rockefeller Group.

By early March, as construction neared completion, the developers had pre-leased about 30 percent of the apartments, which have monthly rents ranging from $2,000 to $5,800. McDonough said Stiles is scouting other urban locations in South Florida for a high-end rental development similar to Amaray Las Olas.

“There is a very strong demand for multifamily rentals,” he said, noting that one of the driving factors is a movement to live in “urban, walkable” locations.

That preference for rental apartments in lively, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods is also apparent in downtown West Palm Beach, where billionaire developer Jeff Greene plans to build a 12-story “micro-apartment” building with 400 units — each about 450 square feet. Those apartments are expected to rent for $995 to $1,200 a month.

A similar project opened last year after Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram Realty Services converted an old Southern Bell Telephone building in downtown West Palm Beach into an 85-unit rental building called Alexander Lofts. Apartments there go for $1,300 to $2,300 a month.

“Most of the units are fairly small,” said Hugo Pacanins, managing director of residential development at Ram Realty. “A lot of studios.”

Pacanins said Alexander Lofts appeals to millennials who prefer to rent because they value mobility. “I think that trend is going to continue for a while,” he added. “That younger crowd is more likely to rent for a longer period of time before getting into home ownership.”

The firm completed construction on the property early last year and now has fewer than 10 rental units on the market, according to the developer. Across the street, Ram Realty and West Palm Beach-based Kolter Group are building a pricier 16-story, 205-unit rental building similarly called the Alexander. That property will have one- and two-bedroom units only, with rents that start at $2,400 a month.

“There are a lot of people who are moving from the suburbs and selling their big houses and moving downtown,” Pacanins said. “It’s happening in Delray Beach, it’s happening in Boca Raton, it’s starting to happen in West Palm Beach, it’s even happening in downtown Boynton Beach.”

Demand for rental housing on the low end of the South Florida market is also strong. The Coconut Grove-based affordable-housing developer Housing Trust Group operates in an affordable-housing market where demand far outweighs the current supply.

Matthew Rieger, HTG’s CEO, said several of the company’s rental developments were 100 percent leased the day they opened and that most of them are located in Palm Beach County. Farther south, the need is even greater, he said.

“Over the last few years and going forward, we’ve been concentrating more on Dade and Broward to supplement that footprint we have in Palm Beach County,” Rieger told TRD.

Much like other affordable-housing developers around the country, HTG qualifies for 9 percent federal tax credits that it can sell to investors to raise funds for construction, as long as it charges affordable rents as defined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But the supply of those highly valued tax credits is capped, while demand remains strong among those who invest in affordable housing, Rieger said.

Meanwhile, investor interest in market-rate rentals is heating up even more. A national survey by Ten-X.com, formerly known as Auction.com, ranked Fort Lauderdale as the third-best metro market for buyers of multifamily properties. The company projected that the monthly rent per unit there will increase from $970 in 2015 to $1,169 in 2019, marking a 20 percent growth. Ten-X ranked Miami as the third-best market in the nation for sellers of rental buildings and projected that the monthly rent per apartment there will increase from $1,240 in 2015 to $1,359 in 2019.

A portfolio of 15 apartment buildings in Miami Beach’s South Beach neighborhood sold in February for $59 million — one of the largest South Beach apartment portfolio sales to ever close. The local real estate firm Boardwalk Properties snapped up the 240 rental units from a Miami-based investment management firm led by Herve Barbera, according to CoStar.

“We got a tremendous amount of interest in that deal from local investors, a lot of people from New York, as well as people from overseas,” said Calum Weaver, a senior vice president at CBRE who represented the seller.

But those in search of smaller transactions are finding a limited supply. The number of buyers looking to invest less than $20 million in South Florida’s multifamily market outweighs the opportunities that are available right now, Weaver noted.

That imbalance has roots in the explosion of condo development during the 2000s before the housing market crashed and the financial crisis and recession hit. Many of the South Florida rental properties built from 1999 to 2005 were sold between 2004 and 2006 and converted to condos, said Robert Given, a South Florida-based vice chairman of CBRE.

“That’s about 35,000 units that were sold and converted to condominiums, which really decimated the Class A inventory leading into 2005,” Given said. “From 2006 to 2011, we were going through the recession, and there was no product built.”

In 2016, land values remain substantially higher in Miami-Dade County, in large part because condo development there has continued to boom in recent years.

“It’s very difficult for us to compete on land price with condominium developers,” Patterson of Related said, noting that his team even competes in-house. “At Related, there’s a lot of internal competition for capital,” he said.

Looking ahead, South Florida’s supply of rental housing may fall short of demand for years to come, even if the pace of new rental construction accelerates, according to industry sources. The region’s population of 6 million people has been growing by about 91,000 residents a year for the last four years, which translates to about 14,000 additional rental households a year, according to research from CBRE. That growth exceeds annual deliveries of about 11,000 new apartments there in recent years, the numbers show.

All obstacles accounted for, the most prolific multifamily investors in the Sunshine State’s tri-county region may see even greater returns in the years to come. Israel Schubert, who oversees the New Jersey and Florida offices at the national commercial mortgage brokerage Meridian Capital Group, said South Florida’s rental market has brighter days ahead. He, too, pointed to Fort Lauderdale and its growing number of young workers as a lower-cost alternative to Miami.

“Clearly the first movers back into multifamily after the downturn were rewarded with outsized returns, but the reality is that the deals we’re financing still have healthy upside potential,” Schubert told TRD. “The South Florida market is strong and just because something is selling now, doesn’t mean there is no more opportunity left for the new buyer.”

  • Dec
    3

Ram Expands Durham Footprint Through Acquisition and Development

December 3, 2015

Developer to transform 5 acres into 263-unit luxury apartment community

adjacent to Class A mixed-use building

Durham, N.C., December 3, 2015 – An affiliate of Ram Realty Services has acquired Pavilion East – a 97,000 square foot Class A mixed-use building – an adjacent 700 space parking structure, and 5 acres of adjoining land located at 2608 Erwin Road in Durham, NC. The mixed-use complex is adjacent to Duke University’s main campus and is walkable to a variety of medical and educational facilities, including the Durham VA Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center.

The property was acquired on behalf of one of Ram’s discretionary private equity funds, Ram Realty Partners III. The seller was the original development partnership led by Jim Anthony, the founder and owner of AACRE Properties, and current CEO and Principal for Colliers International Raleigh, which acted as agent for the Seller. The project was developed in phases beginning in 2004 and culminating in the 2008 completion of the Pavilion East component. Pavilion East is a four-story, Class A, mixed-use building comprising restaurants, retail, medical offices and 28 residential condominiums.  The acquisition did not include the residential condominiums.  The commercial component is 100% occupied with strong national and regional tenants including Duke University Health Systems, TGI Fridays, Chipotle, Smashburger, UPS Store and Another Broken Egg Cafe.

As part of the acquisition, Ram is planning to develop a new luxury rental apartment community that will be fully integrated into the existing mixed-use project.  The new project will include 263 luxury apartments in a unique three-building configuration, creating a variety of living environments at varied price levels.  The residences will be luxuriously appointed with open concept kitchens and wood cabinetry, stainless steel appliances, solid surface countertops, wood plank flooring, ample storage, and a full-size washer and dryer. Community amenities will include a 24-hour fitness center, co-work and creative meeting spaces with state-of-the-art technology, two courtyards with cabanas, pool and sundeck areas, and an outdoor kitchen.

“With over 12,000 students and 36,000 employees at our doorstep, demand for high-quality rental housing remains strong,” said Jennifer Stull, Ram Managing Director of Asset Management. “Our planned improvements to the existing complex, coupled with the introduction of new and unique residential options, will further enhance the vibrant walkable lifestyle along the Erwin Road corridor.”

Pavilion East and the future apartment development are part of Ram Realty Partners III, a $150 million private equity fund that has enabled over $450 million of investments. The acquisition is Ram’s second in Durham, having purchased Durham Festival, a 134,000 square foot Kroger-anchored shopping center, in 2009.  Ram has been an active investor and developer in the Triangle since 2001.  Most notably, Ram developed 140 West Franklin, a mixed-use project in downtown Chapel Hill.

“We continue to believe in the Triangle’s long-term growth prospects.  The region has one of the strongest and most diverse economies in the country.  The expansion of our investments in Durham reflects our confidence in the city’s future,” commented Ram CEO Casey Cummings. “It’s rare to secure a quality infill location with potential for further development in such a high-growth market.  We are particularly attracted by the influence that Duke University and the growing health and technology related fields have on the local economy.”

Cline Design is the architect for the residential development. Ram will break ground in the spring of 2016 and final delivery is planned for the summer of 2017.

  • Sep
    30

Ram Sells Newly Built Boca Apartments

September 30, 2015

via The Real Deal, by Sean Stewart-Muniz

Ram Realty Services, a development company based in Palm Beach Gardens, just closed on the $81.74 million sale of its newly built apartment community in downtown Boca Raton.

The community is called the Mark at Cityscape, at 11 Plaza Real South. It’s a 12-story apartment complex with 208 units, 18,000 square feet of ground-floor retail space and an attached parking garage with 686 spaces.

Ram, which finished construction on the complex this month, sold the community to the Monogram Residential Trust, according to Palm Beach County records.

Monogram is a real estate investment trust based in Texas. It specializes in buying and operating multifamily companies and has a portfolio of 54 properties spread throughout 11 states, according to the REIT’s website.

The deal breaks down to $393,788 per unit and $426 per square foot. Both prices set state records for a multifamily rental sale, according to data from commercial brokerage CBRE, which represented Monogram for the sale.

Asking rents at the building are also some of the highest in Palm Beach County, averaging $2,320 per unit. At the time of the sale, Ram said the apartments were nearly 80 percent leased.

The Mark is part of a 4.5-acre development site in the heart of downtown Boca, which Ram has owned for the last nine years. It’s split into three parts: a roughly one-acre parcel where the Kolter Group is building a Hyatt-branded hotel, another one-acre parcel where the Palmetto Park office building sits, and the 2.3-acre site where Ram built the Mark apartments.

Ram first purchased the property for $42 million in 2006 on behalf of a private equity fund, Ram Realty Partners II. The company’s plans to redevelop the property were halted when the recession hit, but Ram re-launched its apartment project in 2013.

This year, the company re-platted the 4.5 acres into three sections and beginning selling them off. In March, Kolter paid $5.5 million for its one-acre parcel where the Hyatt Place Hotel will be built. And in September, Ram sold the office building for $25.7 million to Kireland Management LLC.

“This investment reflects the benefits of being patient and focusing only on high quality real estate. As a direct result of that focus and a conservative capitalization structure, we were able to hold the asset through a difficult economic environment and ultimately deliver a project that benefited our investors and the community,” Ram CEO Casey Cummings said in a statement. “While we have a high level of confidence in the long-term prospects for Boca Raton, we were fortunate to have received a compelling inquiry from a high quality institution like Monogram. We continue to look for other similar opportunities throughout South Florida.”

  • Sep
    24

Developer Sells Office Portion of Boca Mixed-Use Site

September 24, 2015

Via The Real Deal, by Sean Stewart-Muniz

An office building that’s surrounded by new development in downtown Boca Raton was just sold for $25.7 million.

The building is a mid-rise structure with 73,918 square feet of interior space, according to Palm Beach County property records. It was built in 1997 and was most recently owned by developer Ram Realty Services, which paid $45 million to acquire both the building and the 4.5-acre parcel it occupied in 2006. At the time, most of the land at 120 East Palmetto Park Road was occupied by surface parking lots.

The parcel has since become a major redevelopment site for downtown Boca Raton. Ram has sold or developed much of the original surface parking, with only 1.1 acres remaining for the original office building.

Last week, Ram re-platted the offices to separate them from the other development sites. An LLC titled Kireland Palmetto Park filed a deed Tuesday to acquire the offices, also known as the Merrill Lynch building. The recorded price was $25.7 million. Corporate records show the company is managed by Alex Kurkin, a lawyer in Aventura.

Surrounding the building is a newly constructed apartment tower to the south, and a Hyatt-branded hotel that’s currently being developed to the west.

Ram wrapped up construction on a 12-story, mixed-use building dubbed the Mark at Cityscape earlier this year. It has 208 apartments and 18,052 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. The project occupies 2.3 acres of the original parcel’s southern end. The developer also built an eight-story parking garage with 679 spaces to replace the surface parking it redeveloped. It services the apartments, retail and office portions of the project.

In March, Ram sold roughly one acre of the land to the Kolter Group, where the developer is currently building the 200-room Hyatt Place Hotel Boca Raton. The recorded price for that chunk was $5.5 million.

  • Feb
    27

Ram President Jim Stine named “Alumnus of the Year”

February 27, 2015

Ram President Jim Stine was named the University of Florida Bergstrom Center’s Alumnus of the Year this morning at the UF Trends and Strategies Conference in Orlando, Fla. The conference, held annually, brings together industry professionals to discuss the future of Real Estate and network with the best in the industry.

Stine provides senior leadership for several Company functions, including asset management and development. He joined Ram in 2010 and serves on the Company’s  Investment Committee. Mr. Stine also currently serves on the Advisory Board of the University of Florida’s  Bergstrom Center for Real Estate Studies (UFCRES) and served as chairman 2012-2013. He is an active member in the Urban Land Institute (ULI), the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP) and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). Additionally, he is a past member of the University of Florida Broward County Regional Development Committee, the Board of Directors of Children’s  Place at Homesafe as well as Leadership Palm Beach. Mr. Stine is licensed in mortgage brokerage and real estate sales in the State of Florida.

IMG_0071