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Feb. 6, 2014

The Aspen Cos. Purchases Three Affordable Assets in Georgia

By Joshua Ayers, Senior Editor

PAradise East 1

Paradise East

Teaneck, N.J.—Affordable housing real estate and property management firm,The Aspen Cos. recently picked up a trio of Georgia affordable housing communities for slightly more than $9 million. The deal adds more than 300 units to its expanding efforts in the Southeast.

The garden style apartments include the 176-unit Paradise East in Atlanta, the 100-unit Linwood Apartments in Gainesville, Ga., and the 50-unit Paradise Carrollton in Carrollton, Ga.  The communities were purchased from the original developer, HJ Russell & Co., for $5.6 million, $2.1 million and $1.4 million, respectively.

The transaction was brokered by Andrew Daitch of Marcus & Millichap and legal services were provided by Steven Fleissig of Greenberg Traurig.

Renovations at the properties will include the addition of a few new roofs, supplemental landscaping and the complete renovation of the apartment interiors at the time of turnover.

“These were premium opportunities to strengthen our presence in the Southeast and continue the aggressive acquisition strategy that has enabled us to double the number of holdings in our portfolio in the past year,” says Azi Mandel, principal, The Aspen Cos. “These properties have been extremely well-kept and are prime examples of quality affordable housing. Our goal is to complete strategic renovations over time that will further increase the condition of these communities and preserve and improve the level of affordable housing in this region.”

Aspen has steered its focus toward expanding its presence in the Southeast in the past year, as it has been looking to vastly increase its high-performing Section 8 apartment assets in strategically located areas.

The company, which is based in Teaneck, N.J., has earned a positive reputation for its HUD ownership and management in the Northeast. The primary work of The Aspen Cos. includes making capital improvements at underperforming communities, which includes modernizing building systems, upgrading community grounds and common areas, and adding any needed amenities and social service programs.

“By tapping into niche markets such as HUD apartment buildings, we’ve been able to grow our business tremendously with value-added acquisitions,” says Adam Mermelstein, also a principal at The Aspen Cos. “Specifically, we’ve focused on distressed properties in urban middle-class neighborhoods where there’s a strong demand for quality housing that’s also affordable. While these properties have been underperforming, the locations make them prime candidates to be repositioned into positive cash flow holdings.”

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