Fowler Buys 420-Unit Atlanta M-F, Plans Upgrades

Conifer Crossing, a 420-unit multi-family property in Norcross, Ga., has traded hands for $31.75 million. The buyer was San Francisco-based Fowler Property Acquisitions; the seller, Denver-based Simpson Housing L.L.L.P. Located on about 54 acres on Holcomb Bridge Road, Conifer Crossing is about 17 miles northeast of Atlanta’s CBD, and is currently 98 percent occupied. In the vicinity of the property is about 10 million square feet of office space, including Technology Park/Atlanta, a 3.8-million-square-foot business park primarily occupied by technology-related tenants. The property includes one-, two- and three-bedroom units averaging 1,233 square feet each. Amenities include a clubhouse, pool, fitness center, racquetball court and three lighted tennis courts. Fowler Property Acquisitions plans about $6.3 million in aesthetic upgrades to the recreation area, building exteriors and building interiors to improve the overall marketability of the property. Conditions are reasonably good for the multi-family rental market in the Atlanta area these days. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Metro Atlanta is still a growth market when it comes job creation. In 2007, the metro area added a net of 39,500 jobs, representing a 1.6 percent increase for the year–down from the heady days of a 3 percent-plus increase in job creation in 2005, but still better than the national average for last year of around 1 percent. In 2008, metro Atlanta is forecast to create about 22,200 new jobs, or a 0.9 percent increase, while the nation will be fortunate to see any net increase in jobs. In 2007, according to Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services, developers pulled permits for 10,800 new multi-family housing units, down 31 percent from the previous year. Marcus & Millichap also noted that monthly mortgage payments for median-priced single-family houses are comparable to rent in Class A apartment properties, but that tight underwriting standards will keep some potential buyers out of the housing market for the foreseeable future. Managing director Jason Nettles and associate director Megan Thompson of Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P. in Atlanta represented the seller in the deal. Managing director Tucker Knight of HFF Houston arranged the $28.7 million, fixed-rate loan through Freddie Mac on behalf of Fowler Property Acquisitions.