Carmel Fund Shells Out $66M in Cash for Suburban D.C. M-F

Carmel Partners Inc., acting through its Carmel Partners Investment Fund III L.P., has added a 230-unit multi-family property in Fairfax, Va., to its portfolio by taking Avera Station off the hands of Atlanta-based Beazer Homes in a $65.8 million transaction. The Northern Virginia property, completed only two months ago at a cost of approximately $50 million, was originally conceived as a condominium development, but under the ownership of Carmel Partners, it has undergone a change in name and property type. Avera Station is now Carmel Vienna Metro and is being marketed as an apartment community. Fund III closed in October 2007 with $700 million, and allowed for a cash purchase of Carmel Vienna, a welcomed offer in a credit climate that frequently limits the bidding pool across the commercial real estate industry. “It would have been very difficult to have gotten a lender for this property because it was vacant at the time of purchase,” Chris Beda, Carmel Partners chief investment officer, told CPN. Carmel Vienna (pictured) occupies a four-acre parcel about 15 miles from Washington, D.C.’s Central Business District. The complex consists of three interconnected four-story structures with two stories of underground parking totaling 188,000 square feet for the accommodation of 400 vehicles. Designed by Martin Architectural Group, the apartment community’s groundbreaking took place two years ago with WCS Construction at the helm as general contractor. In addition to the residences, the property encompasses a fitness facility, a theater room, a business center and a clubroom. “This was an opportunity for us to purchase a very nicely built, amenitized property within a short walk of the Metro line in Northern Virginia, which is one of our core markets,” Beda said. “Normally we go for valued-add renovation deals, but in this instance, the lease-up and being able to execute the closing is the value-add.” Converting Carmel Vienna from condos to apartments fits with the present state of the multi-family market. While condominium sales during the second quarter in Washington, D.C., and Suburban Maryland reached the highest level since the third quarter of 2007, sales in Fairfax declined,” according to a report by commercial real estate research firm Delta Associates. Alternatively, the Class A garden-style apartment market in Northern Virginia had a vacancy rate of 3.4 percent at the close of the second quarter. Carmel Vienna marks Carmel Partners’ fifth acquisition deal in Northern Virginia within the last three years. Just last year, Carmel Partners Investment Fund II L.P. purchased the Summit Apartments in Alexandria, as well as Arlington’s The Chesterfield Apartments, Windsor Towers and Stratford Towers, totaling 744 units for an aggregate $106 million. And it is likely that there will be more acquisition activity to come in the area. “We’re an active buyer and have the ability to close all-cash transaction in a short timeframe,” Beda said.