Greystar buys Henry Torres’ condo-turned-rental project in Little Havana for $89M

The InTown apartments
The InTown apartments

In one of Little Havana’s most expensive commercial deals in recent history, Greystar just paid $89 million for the Astor Companies’ newly built InTown apartment complex.

The sale reflects a slowing market for a project that was originally slated to be built as a condominium but failed to drum up enough sales. It also gives further credence to the trend of national investors favoring South Florida rental properties.

Greystar’s purchase covers a pair of 15-story rental towers at 1900 Southwest Eighth Street in Miami that together house 312 units. The price breaks down to $285,256 per apartment.

At $89 million, the deal easily blows past the neighborhood’s most recent apartment sales, which topped out at the $13.6 million purchase of a 63-unit building in December, according to data from Real Capital Analytics.

Commercial brokerage HFF, which represented Astor, announced the off-market sale Monday. The deal marks an unusual twist for InTown, which was originally planned to be developed as condominiums with prices between $190,000 and $300,000. The developer had targeted investors and young professionals who couldn’t afford to live in more expensive neighborhoods like Brickell, but still wanted a home nearby.

Sales for the project launched in January 2014, but Astor CEO Henry Torres told The Real Deal that only 37 percent of the units had been reserved by fall this year.

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“Unfortunately, we didn’t get to the point where we thought it was a success,” he said. “We gave everybody back their deposits plus interest, and we moved on as a rental project because it made more sense at the time.”

Astor is not alone: some of South Florida’s most high-profile developers have shifted gears in the past 12 months, either canceling, pausing or redesigning condo projects in the face of a slowing residential market.

It didn’t take long for Torres’ strategy to attract interest. Greystar approached Astor in January looking to buy the apartments, Torres said, and the two companies signed a contract in February. InTown’s rebirth as a rental complex was formalized in March when Astor’s holding company terminated its declaration of condominium with the county.

Rents at the project range from $1,600 for a one-bedroom apartment to $2,700 for three bedrooms. Amenities include a fourth-floor amenity deck featuring a swimming pool, a coffee bar, club room, fitness center, yoga room and business center.

A request for comment from Greystar was not immediately returned. The South Carolina-based apartment owner financed its purchase with a loan from Florida Community Bank, though it’s not immediately clear how much debt was placed. The deal has not yet cleared county records.

South Florida’s multifamily market has attracted a slew of investors recently, with $4 billion worth of rental properties trading during this year’s first half alone. HFF Managing Director Jaret Turkell, who represented Astor along with Maurice Habif, said apartment properties’ stability make them attractive options to both international buyers and institutional firms stateside like pension fund advisors.