North Little Rock, Ark.–Construction has begun on Riverside at Rockwater, a 264-unit apartment property by Los Angeles-based Post Investment Group on 13 acres in North Little Rock, a suburb across the Arkansas River from Little Rock. The project is part of the Rockwater Village mixed-use redevelopment on the site of a former industrial facility.
Rockwater Village is a “traditional neighborhood development,” and besides residences, it will also include office, retail, restaurant and green space, with parking in the rear and sidewalks in the front, to encourage walking. The development is also directly on the hiking and bike trail along the Arkansas River, sporting views (across the river) of downtown Little Rock, the state capitol and the Clinton Museum. The city of North Little Rock is extending a new road and utilities directly in front of the Rockwood Village subdivision and the Riverside at Rockwood project site.
Riverside at Rockwater was financed with a construction-to-perm HUD 221(d)(4) loan by Wells Fargo. Though demand for apartments is increasing in most markets–including the Little Rock MSA, whose population has grown by 14.6 percent from 2000 to 2010 according to U.S. Census Bureau figures–that doesn’t mean the multifamily financing climate is easy, however.
“In today’s market, lenders are looking for two key ingredients,” Alex Condos, president of the Development Division of Post Investment Group, tells MHN. “First, does the project have the correct location, design and amenity package to meet renter demand, as opposed to being too far out from the city center with gasoline at $4 a gallon and a unit mix that doesn’t match up with the demographic profile of area renters?”
Also, Condos says, lenders are looking very closely at the track record of those involved in the deal. “This includes not just the developer, but the owner, architectural and engineering design team, contractor, and management agent,” he explains. “No one wants to see that it’s someone’s first go-round. The financial strength of the guarantor has always been a key ingredient to getting deals financed, and this is more important today than during the last cycle.”