By Barbra Murray, Contributing Writer
Orlando, Fla.–Snapping up The District at Universal, a 425-unit mixed-use apartment property in Orlando, Fla., Behringer Harvard continues to pad its portfolio with premier multifamily properties in core markets across the country.
The District first opened its doors in fall 2009 as a Perennial Properties development endeavor. Acting through Behringer Harvard Multifamily REIT I Inc., Behringer Harvard acquired the unencumbered property in a joint venture with PGGM Private Real Estate Fund at a purchase price that was “at a significant discount to replacement cost,” Jason Mattox, chief administrative officer for Behringer Harvard, tells MHN. PGGM, an investment vehicle for Dutch pension funds, enhanced its investment in its partnership with Behringer Harvard to $300 million in 2010.
Carrying the address of 9702 Universal Blvd., The District occupies a prime spot within a high-traffic tourism district that is home to Universal Orlando Resort, Walt Disney World, Sea World Orlando and a long list of additional attractions including a bevy of upscale golf resorts. The University of Central Florida’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management is just across the street, and the 7-million square-foot Orange County Convention Center and Orlando International Airport are within close proximity. The approximately 400,000 square-foot, institutional-caliber asset also encompasses 25,000 square feet of retail space, with a Walgreens drugstore serving as the anchor.
The District reached stabilization in 2010 with an occupancy level of 90 percent. “While Orlando has seen significant construction over the past cycle, demand for luxury apartments is surging in the market,” Mattox says. “Rental rates for luxury communities have stabilized and are beginning to increase. The favorable demographics of empty nesters and echo boomers are expected by many researchers to drive continued growth in apartment demand over the next few years.”