Blackstone buys Fort Lauderdale apartments for $23M

Price breaks down to nearly $260,000 per unit

Dec.December 10, 2015 10:30 AM

Exchange Lofts rooftop in downtown Fort Lauderdale

As part of a $2 billion deal for 32 multifamily properties across the United States, the Blackstone Group has closed on an 87-unit apartment building in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

A Blackstone affiliate paid $22.56 million, or nearly $260,000 per unit, for the Exchange Lofts, at 115 Northeast Third Avenue, Broward County records show. Greystar Real Estate Partners was the seller.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Greystar would sell the 10,399-unit portfolio, which is in major metropolitan areas such as South Florida, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco. Greystar will continue managing the properties.

The Fort Lauderdale sale was financed by a $19 million mortgage, part of a larger, $455 million multistate mortgage. Bank of America is the lender, according to Broward County records.

The historic, seven-story building was known as the Southern Bell Exchange Building. It was built in the 1960s and sits on a 37,500-square-foot lot. Property records show that it last traded for $14.5 million in 2011. Amenities include a rooftop pool, bungalows, gym and park, according to the Exchange Lofts’ website.

Downtown Fort Lauderdale has seen an increase in commercial and residential activity this year. In February, the newly completed Vu New River apartment tower sold to MetLife Real Estate Investors for $53 million, or about $250,000 per unit.

Ocean Land Investments also completed AquaVita Las Olas, a low-rise condo project in the Las Olas Isles neighborhood, in September. On an economic development panel that month, Jeremy Earle, deputy director of the department of sustainable development, said the city of Fort Lauderdale hopes to add 5,000 more residential units in the downtown area in addition to about 5,000 built in recent years.

Blackstone has been one of the most active buyers of multifamily buildings this year. The Manhattan-based firm is betting that declining homeownership, driven in part by demographic shifts and stagnant incomes, will increase demand for rental apartments.

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