Belveron Partners Acquires 194-Property Portfolio

The controlling interest in Conifer Realty gives the investment firm ownership of more than 15,000 affordable housing units in New York and New Jersey.

Wincoram Commons in Coram, N.Y. Image courtesy of Belveron Partners

Investment firm Belveron Partners has strengthened its East Coast presence by acquiring a controlling interest in affordable housing specialist Conifer Realty, in the process taking ownership of 194 properties and 15,340 units across New York and New Jersey. The blockbuster transaction follows investments by Belveron in the Bronx and Brooklyn, N.Y., earlier this year and infuses fresh capital in Conifer, a Rochester, N.Y.-based developer, owner and property manager with a 45-year track record.

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The investment process kicked off last December and involved scores of approving bodies, Belveron Partner & Vice President of Acquisitions Louis Harrison told Multi-Housing News—including city, state and federal authorities as well as a significant number of nonprofit partners, lenders and tax credit investors.

“If there’s such a thing in real estate as getting your PhD, then Conifer was our dissertation,” added Paul Odland, Belveron founder & managing partner.

Belveron indicated that the portfolio occupancy rate is currently around 91 percent, down from the historical average of the mid- to high-90s. The properties are mostly garden-style communities, primarily located in the suburbs, and about 40 percent consist of elderly-designated affordable housing.

All told, the closing involves more than 500 employees, nearly 30,000 residents and 12 new construction projects in various phases of development as well as the existing properties. Joan Hoover’s role as president of Conifer has been expanded to CEO and member of the Board, to which she reports. The board also includes Odland, Harrison—who led the investment for Belveron—Tim Fournier as chairman and Ryan Fuson, managing director of Redwood Housing.

Nationwide growth

Belveron, based in San Francisco, also has offices on the East Coast and has been investing in affordable housing nationwide since its inception. “We’ve always had more of an affordable housing focus rather than a geographic focus,” said Odland. The company and its affiliates provide affordable rental homes in 32 states, with ownership in more than 300 properties exceeding 30,000 units.

In January, Belveron teamed up with LIHC Investment Group and Camber Property Group to purchase an affordable housing portfolio in the Bronx totaling 1,275 units from Cammeby’s International Group for $166 million. The company also acquired a portfolio of 384 affordable and market-rate units in Brooklyn with Camber Property Group in June, investing nearly $90 million.

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