By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Atlanta—With the apartment market quickly regaining its health across the country, Post Properties Inc. has kicked off development of Post Lake at Baldwin Park, Phase III in Orlando and Post Parkside at Wade, Phase I in Raleigh, N.C. The projects, to be built at a total cost of approximately $114.7 million, will add an aggregate 802 rental units to the Atlanta-based multifamily developer’s national portfolio.
The third phase of Post Lake, which will feature 410 units, will sprout up at Wade, Orlando’s 1,100-acre mixed-use community of residences, retail and office offerings. Phase III marks Post’s first involvement with construction at the 17-structure Post Lake. The apartment REIT acquired Phases I and II, previously known as the Centergate Baldwin Park Apartments, as well as developable land for the third phase in 2007. Upon completion of Phase III, Post Lake will encompass 760 units.
Post Parkside, also part of a mixed-use community, will sit in a prime location in Raleigh within close proximity of North Carolina State University and the Research Triangle Park. Phase 1 of the endeavor will yield 392 units and 18,148 square feet of retail space. Additional phases may follow down the road, as land is available at the Wade mixed-use development for the construction of additional multifamily residences.
Both the Orlando and Raleigh markets are thriving. “The virtual stoppage in Orlando area apartment construction over the past two years” and an improving economy have resulted in a great increase in demand in the city’s apartment market, according to a report by apartment market research firm Real Data. The average vacancy rate during the first three months of the year was 7.2 percent, marking a substantial decrease from the first quarter 2009 figure of 11.8 percent.
As noted in the report, In the Raleigh-Durham market, “Demand for apartments remains at an all-time high.” The decreasing average vacancy rate, currently at 7.1 percent, can be attributed to a significant drop in construction starts over the last two years.
Additionally, in both Orlando and Raleigh, rents are on the upswing. Post Properties expects to make the first apartments at Post Lake and Post Parkside available during the fourth quarter of 2012. The REIT plans to finance construction activity by borrowing under its secured revolving lines of credit and utilizing proceeds from its at-the-market common equity sales program.