Winthrop Snaps Up 4 Class A Apartment Buildings for $246M

Winthrop Realty Trust has agreed to buy four Class A luxury apartment buildings from ST Residential for an aggregate price of $246 million.
Sand Pedro Bank Lofts

Sand Pedro Bank Lofts, San Pedro, Calif.

Winthrop Realty Trust, of Boston, has agreed to buy four Class A luxury apartment buildings from ST Residential for an aggregate price of $246 million, the REIT announced Tuesday.

Although all are in different cities (Phoenix; Houston; Stamford, Conn.; and San Pedro, Calif.), what the four properties have in common is that all were originally built as residential condominium projects and all had been funded by Corus Bank N.A., of Chicago, Winthrop chairman & CEO Michael Ashner told Commercial Property Executive.

ST Residential is a joint venture of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Starwood Capital, TPG Capital, Perry Capital and WLR LeFrak, itself a JV of the LeFrak Organization and WL Ross & Co. L.L.C.

Corus Bank, which had invested heavily in residential condo construction loans, was turned over to the FDIC in September 2009, and shortly later Starwood Capital Group purchased a 40 percent equity share in a $4.5 billion portfolio of the defunct bank’s construction loans and REO assets. The FDIC held the remaining 60 percent share.

Ashner told CPE that what made the buildings attractive to Winthrop was the condominium-level quality of the construction and finishes, the positive cash flow (the buildings average 91 percent actual occupancy) and, the REIT’s approach of being “long-term holders” notwithstanding, the possibility of selling one or more of them off as condos at some point down the road.

In addition, the buildings reportedly sold for less than their replacement cost.

The four buildings include:

* 44 Monroe, in Phoenix, a 34-story building with 184 units and 1,377 square feet of ground-level retail space. Constructed in 2008, the building’s amenities include a spa and swimming pool with sundeck, fully furnished clubroom, outdoor terrace with gas grill and fire pit, 24-hour lobby attendant, fitness center, business center, eight floors of secured parking and a conference room.

* Mosaic II, in Houston, a 29-story building with 396 units and 20,000 square feet of ground-level retail space. It was built in 2009 and features 24-hour valet and concierge services, a 6,000-square-foot wellness center with steam rooms and saunas, an infinity-edge pool, penthouse units of up to 2,959 square feet, and a 6,500-square-foot social lounge and recreation area.

* Highgrove, in Stamford, Conn., an 18-story building consisting of 92 units. Completed in 2011, the property features such amenities as a 24-hour doorman and concierge; valet parking; shuttle to metro station; fitness club and spa with steam, sauna and locker rooms; a yoga studio; sky-lit indoor pool with retractable roof and Jacuzzi; walk-in wine cellar; movie screening room; card and billiards room; dog walk area; and furnished tenant guest lodgings.

* San Pedro Lofts, in San Pedro, Calif., was completed in 2008 and has 89 units in two residential buildings with 3,545 square feet of ground-level retail space. Its amenities include a sun deck with a barbeque, outdoor fireplace, fitness center, two controlled-access underground parking garages and an outdoor community courtyard.

The closing is expected this fall. Winthrop put up a $25.5 million deposit and intends to fund the balance of the purchase price from a combination of cash reserves and new secured financing. Based on a term sheet from a third-party lender, the REIT anticipates receiving $150 million in mortgage financing at a rate of LIBOR plus 200 basis points, with interest-only payments and a three-year term with two one-year extensions.