By Jeffrey Steele
A joint venture combining Atlas Real Estate Partners and Novel Property Ventures, both based in New York City, has acquired Urban Style Flats Apartments in downtown St. Petersburg, Fla. The 481-unit high-rise apartment community is situated within the vibrant, historic enclave known as the “Edge District,” a designated Florida Main Street district encompassing the area between MLK Jr. and 16th Streets, and 1st Avenues north and south. The neighborhood is filled with locally-owned, independent businesses, among them craft beer pubs, restaurants, dance clubs, art galleries and museums.
Plans call for Atlas/Novel to undertake a value-add program of renovation and rebranding at the apartment community. The joint venture will begin the renovation program and roll out the rebranding in early 2018.
Creating additional value
Company leaders have indicated they are excited about unlocking what they feel is the substantial unrealized potential of Urban Style Flats Apartments. They believe Urban Style Flats is an excellent fit for the company’s investment philosophy, which calls for acquiring Class B apartment communities at significant discounts to replacement costs and then repositioning them to create additional value.
We view Urban Style Flats as a unique opportunity to acquire a fully differentiated product within a high-growth market,” Atlas managing partner Arvind Chary told MHN. “The property will be rebranded specifically to target the growing young professional demographic seeking the downtown St. Petersburg lifestyle. Furthermore, our unit mix consisting of 97 percent studios and one-bedrooms is ideal for our target demographic who seek their own private living space.”
Added Andrew Miller, principal at Novel, “We’ve engaged a great team and we’re excited to execute our value-add strategy. We believe there are numerous opportunities to create value and improve operations. Our business plan is to take care of all deferred maintenance, create new amenities, renovate the common areas, upgrade unit interiors and rebrand the property with the goal of offering residents a newly-renovated property at a value price point.”
Chary said the post-renovation amenity set and unit interiors will be of similar quality to the submarket’s newly-developed Class A properties. Post-renovation rents will be significantly below the comparable Class A properties within the market.
Novel co-founder and principal Bennat Berger noted the property’s walkable location, community focus and high-quality amenities will attract lifestyle-focused residents.
“We look forward to partnering with the community and city to create a property that enhances downtown St. Pete,” he added.