Laramar Acquires 694-Unit Apartment Community in Charlotte

Laramar Group, a Chicago-based private real estate investment and management company, has acquired Waterford Lakes Apartments, a 694-unit lakeside property in Charlotte, N.C. It is the 13th acquisition the firm has made as part of its $350 million Laramar Multi-Family Value Fund since it launched in December of 2006.The purchase price and the seller of Waterford Lakes Apartments were not disclosed. Laramar had managed the 43-acre property for the previous owner. Bennett Neuman, vice president of acquisitions for Laramar Group, told CPN that approximately half of the $350 million fund has been spent. He anticipates it will be fully invested by early 2009. “We would expect to acquire 12 or more properties this year for a total of 30 properties for this fund,” Neuman said. “We are looking for value-add properties, which can be defined as discounted assets, assets in need of strategic renovation, management turn-around opportunities and complex financial or operational situations.”Neuman said Laramar is focusing on the Washington, D.C., area and other major Northeast cities as well as Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle and major markets in Florida and California.”Typically, Laramar targets supply-constrained areas within our target markets, or opportunistically, in high quality markets,” he added. “Because the Laramar Multi-Value Fund is totally discretionary, it gives Laramar the ability to move quickly on properties that are interesting to us. We also rely on long-standing relationships that our executive team has built in the industry.”Laramar had managed the 43-acre property for the previous owner. Located at 8000 Waterford Lakes Drive, the apartment complex is located near the 77 and 485 Expressways and close to shopping, including the South Park and Carolina Malls. The region is also growing because of its proximity to LYNX, a $400 million light rail project that connects south Charlotte from Interstate-485 through the South End into the Charlotte Central Business District, according to a Laramar press release.The complex has a combination of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Laramar is planning on spending about $4 million to renovate interiors, exteriors and add some new amenities including an Internet Café. The property already has two swimming pools, a fitness center, tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, an indoor racquetball court, Cinema Room and business center.“The acquisition of Waterford Lakes is in line with Laramar’s strategy to purchase well-located properties and enhance their value through renovation and management,” Elowe noted in the release.Other recent Laramar acquisitions include the 356-unit Memorial Club Apartments in Houston and the 308-unit Hampton Court Apartments in Alexandria, Va., according to a Jan. 17 CPN report. Laramar said it planned to spend about $20,000 per unit in renovations at both complexes.Laramar, originally co-founded by Elowe in 1989 as Elkor Realty, targets investment opportunities in multi-family, mixed-use and senior housing properties. It has a value-added strategy and enhances its acquisitions through redevelopment, renovations, repositioning and management. The firm, which also has a regional office in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and a property management headquarters in Denver, has invested more than $1.75 billion in properties throughout the United States.