Northland Nabs Austin M-F Portfolio for $270M

Touting it as the largest apartment deal in Austin’s history, Northland Investment Corp.’s Northland Fund III has acquired a portfolio of nine Class A communities with 2,985 apartment units for $270 million from Equity Residential Properties Trust.The portfolio includes River Stone Ranch, Sedona Springs, The Arboretum at Stonelake (pictured), Madison at the Arboretum, Village Oaks, Madison at Scofield Farms, Madison at Walnut Creek, Madison at Wells Branch and Madison at Stone Creek. The acquisition increases Massachusetts-based Northland’s Austin portfolio to 4,500 units, making the firm the largest multi-family owner in the Texas capital.”The Austin market has been attractive to a number of industry sectors, particularly businesses in information technology, creating a strong job market and attracting people to the region,” Steven Rosenthal, CEO of Northland Investment Corp., told CPN. “Residential properties that are well managed and maintained will benefit from this growth. This acquisition follows one of our core strategies of building a presence in evolving markets where we can apply our strong management experience, adding value for our investors.” Although an influx of new construction will pressure fundamentals in 2008, the long-term outlook for the Austin apartment market remains positive. Most of the new development is in the city’s core, which is expected to compete with more than 4,000 new condominium units this year, according to a second quarter Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services report. The largest project, the 44-story 360 Condominiums, came online completely sold out, indicating that demand for urban housing remains robust, the research report stated. Austin cap rates, which have averaged in the low-6 percent range during the past 12 months, trended 30 basis points higher in the first half of 2008, indicating that buyers and sellers are closing the expectations gap.Northland’s multi-family portfolio has experienced significant growth of late, with 24 acquisitions in the last 12 months, aggregating 5,906 units. Among the most recent include the June 30 acquisition of The Royal St. George, a 224-unit apartment community located in West Palm Beach, Fla. And on May 19, the Northland Fund III L.P. acquired Northgate Apartments, a 179-unit apartment community located in Middletown, R.I. The acquisition marked Northland’s entry into Rhode Island. The transaction was brokered by Charles Cirar at CB Richard Ellis Inc. Northland Investment Corp. is a privately held, vertically integrated real estate company focused on the acquisition, development and operation of commercial real estate throughout the United States. The firm owns a $2.5 billion portfolio of 22 million square feet in fourteen states, and has a development pipeline in excess of $1 billion.