Aspen Cos. Buys 50-Unit HUD-Supported M-F Building in Newark, N.J.

The affordable housing community at 75 Lock St. in downtown Newark, N.J., just got a new owner and it’s about to get a makeover, too.
Aziz Mandel, Principal, The Aspen Cos.

Aziz Mandel, Principal, The Aspen Cos.

The affordable housing community at  75 Lock St. in downtown Newark, N.J., just got a new owner and it’s about to get a makeover, too. The Aspen Cos. recently acquired the 50-unit, HUD-supported property from a Florida investment group for approximately $60,000 per residence from, and is ready to get to work.

It’s not a new luxury rental tower in New York City or a premier apartment property in San Francisco, but 75 Lock certainly created its share of investor competition. “Just like the entire multi-family market, the field in HUD-supported projects is crowded and competitive and there is increased competition both locally and nationally to purchase properties,” Azi Mandel, a principal with Aspen, told Commercial Property Executive. “These investments have strong cash-on-cash returns, so we’re also seeing increased interest from investors for outside asset classes.”

Sited just around the corner from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, 75 Lock started out as a factory before it’s conversion to a multi-family destination. The property dovetails perfectly with Aspen’s strategy of acquiring and renovating value-add assets, and the HUD-property owner and manager has big plans for its latest acquisition. Aspen will submit 75 lock to an intensive capital improvement program that will encompass upgrades inside and outside of the three-story building. The modernization will position 75 Lock to be on par with the changes downtown. The area’s rebirth has been bolstered by such new developments as the highly-anticipated mixed-use Teachers Village and Panasonic’s 340,000-square-foot headquarters, downtown’s first new commercial building in more than 20 years.

“We’ve long been active in the City ensuring that affordable housing keeps pace with the gentrifying neighborhood,” Mandel noted in a prepared statement. “We purchased this unique HUD building and plan to modernize the homes and property to fit into the changing landscape. By completing key improvements and aggressively managing the property, it will become an over performing asset that benefits the entire community-at-large.”

It’s been a busy year for Aspen. The company kicked off 2014 with the announcement of its acquisitions of four communities totaling 384 units in North Carolina and Texas, and three garden apartment complexes encompassing 326 units in key Georgia markets.