Starwood Capital Forms JV to Acquire, Develop M-F

Sarasota, Fla.-based Starwood Land Ventures L.L.C., an affiliate of Starwood Capital Group Global L.L.C., has established a joint venture with Vienna, Va.-headquartered The Penrose Group to acquire, develop and hold multi-family properties in key Mid-Atlantic markets. Penrose brings to the table 20 years of experience as a leading real estate force in the Metropolitan Washington, D.C. While Starwood Land and Penrose have not disclosed further specifics of their planned activities, the Metro D.C. multi-family market is still fertile ground for potentially lucrative investments. The region–encompassing the District, as well as Northern Virginia and neighboring Maryland suburbs–continues to hold its position as one of the top apartment markets in the country, according to a midyear report by commercial real estate research firm Delta Associates. Factors buoying the area include a solid job market and a significant segment of transient workers who prefer to rent Class A digs, as opposed to buying. Although the average vacancy rate for investment grade apartments inched up 0.7 percent over the last year, at 3.6 percent, it is still significantly below the national average rate of 5.6 percent. There is no question that the condominium market has taken a beating in most major cities across the country, but there are still a few good development opportunities to be had in certain pockets within the greater Washington, D.C. area. The Delta Associates report points to such target audiences as first-time buyers seeking moderately priced properties without the sky-high mortgages and empty-nesters seeking to downsize and take up residency in certain locations as good target audiences for new condo projects. Additionally, transit-oriented developments in close-in submarkets could also present an opportunity for success. So, lenders have not completely turned their backs on the area’s condo market. In early July, joint venture partners The Cohen Cos. and O’Connor Capital Partners L.L.C. secured a $60 million construction loan from Corus Bankshares Inc. for Velocity, a 200-unit condominium tower near the new Washington Nationals baseball park in southeast D.C. Starwood Land is a residential real estate firm focused on land acquisition, development and financing endeavors across the U.S. The company is well known for its creation of large-scale master-planned communities. Penrose encompasses a group of companies that are engaged in real estate development and property management services. The 20-year-old firm’s portfolio of projects encompasses multifamily, office, industrial and mixed-use properties.