Camber Property Group buys East NY portfolio for $107.5M

Property owner under scrutiny for deadly Bronx fire

Rick Gropper, principal, Camber Property Group in front of 579 Blake Avenue in Brooklyn (Camber Property Group, LoopNet, iStock)
Rick Gropper, principal, Camber Property Group in front of 579 Blake Avenue in Brooklyn (Camber Property Group, LoopNet, iStock)

The owner of the Bronx building devastated by a deadly fire last month recently picked up a four-building portfolio of Section 8 housing in Brooklyn.

Camber Property Group purchased the Remeeder Houses in East New York from Omni New York for $107.5 million, according to property records. The deal only recently appeared in filings, but closed in December.

The housing complex comprises 261 units across four six-story buildings. The complex also includes a one-story retail building and a parking lot. According to Crain’s, Camber borrowed $90 million from the Merchant’s Bank of Indiana to make the purchase. It’s likely to make renovations.

Omni initially bought the properties in 2007 for $12.6 million, Crain’s reported. The developer proceeded to take out a $20 million loan from the Housing Finance Agency for renovations, in turn guaranteeing the units would remain affordable for 40 years.

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Founded by L+M Development Partners alumni Rick Gropper and Andrew Moelis, Camber has made a name as an affordable housing developer and preservationist. In November, the firm acquired a portfolio of three-project based Section 8 communities for $105 million. Known as the Triboro Portfolio, Camber acquired the 306 affordable units from Omni as well.

Earlier this year, LIHC Investment Group and Camber bought a 229-unit, nine-building affordable housing portfolio in East Harlem from Vitus Group for $68 million. The developers plan to keep the complex affordable for at least the next 40 years.

Camber is under increased scrutiny after the fire that killed 17 in a Bronx affordable housing complex. Officials said a malfunctioning space heater started the fire at the investor’s property at 333 East 181st Street, which it owns along with LIHC Investment and Belveron Partners.

A door in the duplex apartment failed to close, accelerating the fire’s spread before the fire victims of the fire killed nine adults and eight children, largely due to smoke inhalation.

Two survivors of the fire filed a lawsuit against the property owners and a former owner seeking $1 billion in compensatory damages. In addition to the damage claim, the lawsuit is also seeking class-action status, pushing for $2 billion in collective punitive damages for the victims.