The Real Deal Miami

Starwood closes $5.4B purchase of REIT’s multifamily portfolio

Portfolio includes 10,742 units in South Florida

January 27, 2016 12:00PM

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Starwood Capital Group CEO Barry Sternlicht and Equity Residential founder Sam Zell

Starwood Capital Group CEO Barry Sternlicht and Equity Residential founder Sam Zell

Starwood Capital Group just closed on its $5.365 billion deal to purchase Equity Residential’s huge portfolio of rental units spread throughout five U.S. states, including Florida.

The deal covers 72 properties located in suburban submarkets of South Florida; Denver, Colorado; Seattle, Washington; Inland Empire, California; and Washington D.C.

That breaks down to 23,262 rental apartments for about $230,633 per unit. The purchase was free and clear of existing debt, according to a news release when the parties first announced their deal in October.

With this sale’s closing, Equity Residential has completely exited both the South Florida and Denver markets. The investment trust had 33 properties in the Sunshine State, or 10,742 rental units.

Equity will instead focus its attention on urban coastal markets like New York and San Francisco, where multifamily construction is more restricted.

The REIT is headed by Chicago-based investment guru Sam Zell, who gained fame in 2007 for offloading his entire office portfolio to the Blackstone Group for $39 billion — just in time for the real estate market’s collapse.

As for Starwood, this deal represents the firm’s biggest non-hotel purchase in its history. The investment firm is betting big on the U.S. multifamily market, inking deals for about 67,800 units during the last year. — Sean Stewart-Muniz

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