Rentals still rule in Connecticut as multifamily portfolio trades hands

<em>Sherwood Arms Apartments in Stratford MLK co-founder and managing partner Solomon Kinraich</em>
Sherwood Arms Apartments in Stratford MLK co-founder and managing partner Solomon Kinraich

A New York-based private equity firm and a multifamily investor recently closed on their $24 million acquisition of a 238-unit portfolio spread across eight buildings in Fairfield County, Connecticut.

MLK Real Estate Capital arranged the joint venture, which will renovate the units and re-lease them at market rate. The Real Deal has learned that the private equity firm and its sponsor, a Bridgeport-based multifamily operator, bought 110 units at 150 Anton Street in Bridgeport and 24 units at 1126 Stratford Avenue in Stratford.

Another 44 units at 498 Sherwood Place and 60 units at 490 Sherwood Place, also in Stratford, have also been bought by the joint venture. The purchase comes a month after TRD reported that rentals in Fairfield County reigned supreme on the local commercial real estate scene.

Multifamily development surpassed the office market among top trades in Fairfield County within the last year, as investors were keen on pursuing high-yield, low-risk multifamily properties. All four assets purchased by the joint venture are within walking distance to the centers of Bridgeport and Stratford, which are roughly three miles apart.

“The fact that the portfolio has not traded in more than a generation allows for the transition of the properties post-close to institutional-quality property management under the sponsorship of a well-established, local operator,” said a statement from MLK founder and managing partner Solomon Kinraich. “We were drawn to this joint venture opportunity by the quality of the sponsorship, the off-market nature of the acquisition and the compelling per-unit cost basis.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Kinraich told TRD that recent changes to New York’s rental laws had no part in the decision by both unnamed parties to purchase apartments in Bridgeport and Stratford.

“This opportunity was sourced and the investment thesis behind the acquisition was purely based on the sponsors’ existing large multifamily portfolio in Connecticut and on the local merits of the related submarkets,” said Kinraich, who declined to identify the purchasers.

MLK, which has previously arranged the financing for other multifamily deals in Connecticut, sourced debt financing for its latest Constitution State endeavor, which includes $5 million for tenant improvements and maintenance upgrades, as well as a budget for interior and exterior capital improvements.

The two apartment complexes on Sherwood Place, known as the Shakespeare Arms and Sherwood Arms Apartments, were sold by Stratcon Properties, a local property owner. The three- and four-story buildings, located less than a mile from Stratford’s train station, were built in 1969. The properties consist of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units.

A limited liability company known as Brookside Gardens sold the five buildings at 150 Anton Street in Bridgeport. The multifamily complex is located 3.5 miles from the city’s downtown and is proximal to Elton Rodgers Woodland Park and the Westfield Trumbull retail complex. The deal is one of the largest trades in Bridgeport so far this year.

The Real Deal reported in March on Time Equities buying the Bridgeport Trade and Technology Center. The New York-based developer has acquired 176 apartments and more than 1 million square of commercial space in Bridgeport in the last 10 months.