Laramar Nabs Former Condo Conversion Project, Plans Rental Redo

Laramar Group has acquired Oceanview Apartments, a 160-unit waterfront property located in Boca Raton, Fla. The property, to be renamed Villa Oceana Apartments, was previously a condominium conversion project, and is now designated to be renovated as luxury waterfront apartment units. The price was not disclosed. Laramar acquired the note on the Oceanview from the senior lender, and negotiated with the mezzanine lender and the current owner to complete the foreclosure process. During the foreclosure, Laramar was appointed as receiver, and took over management of the property. Apartment Realty Advisors, through its Boca Raton office, brokered the transaction. Villa Oceana is bordered on the west side by the Intracoastal Waterway, and on the east side by the Atlantic Ocean. Laramar will complete an extensive renovation with the addition of a number of amenities including: new washers and dryers; new kitchens, which will have granite countertops; lighting packages; new carpet and cabinets; and hardware and accessories for all units. Other amenities include the addition of an Internet café and a business center, as well as upgraded exercise facilities and pool. The renovations will begin almost immediately. Other improvements to the property include a new monument sign, landscaping, interior painting, and parking lot repairs. Deferred maintenance items will also be addressed. The company says it will implement its green practices, which range from installation of water efficient appliances in the units to property-wide initiatives and recycling programs. Hampton Beebe (pictured), vice president in the Boca Raton office of Apartment Realty Advisors, who brokered the sale, said the transaction is notable because, unlike many other fractured condo deals, no units were ever sold, so the property will be able to be converted back to a rental property with relative ease. And while some condominiums may face challenges as luxury rentals, Villa Oceana, as an oceanfront rental, makes it an anomaly in Boca Raton, as well as Palm Beach County, so it is likely to draw tenants, he said. Villa Oceana was constructed in 1967, and consists of two mid-rise buildings. Existing amenities include a pool, exercise facility, nine boat slips and private gated access to the ocean. The property is located two miles from Downtown Boca Raton, and is a 20-minute drive to Fort Lauderdale and a 30-minute drive to West Palm Beach. South Florida’s condo meltdown has had some positive aspects for a value-add buyer such as Laramar, said Keith Harris, executive vice president of investment for the company. “In this environment, there are opportunities for a value-add buyer,” Harris told CPN today. “We can acquire properties that weren’t attainable two years ago. We’re able to execute these types of transactions, and we have an appetite for more,” he said. The acquisition was spearheaded out of the Laramar’s Palm Beach Gardens office. In December 2006, the Laramar Group closed the Laramar Multi-Family Value Fund, which gives the company the ability to acquire $1.4 billion in value-added multi-family properties throughout the country. Laramar swung another big purchase earlier this month, buying the 948-unit Archtone San Complex in San Jose, Calif. According to a report in the San Jose Business Journal, Laramar acquired the 31-building property for $190 million.