Atlas Real Estate, DivcoWest Form $1B SFR Joint Venture

The partnership will acquire and renovate homes throughout the western United States.
Property in Arizona owned by Atlas Real Estate that is an example of the homes they are targeting. Image courtesy of Atlas Real Estate

Real estate investment firm DivcoWest is investing $250 million in equity in a joint venture with Atlas Real Estate that plans to deploy $1 billion into acquiring and renovating homes for the single-family rental market throughout the Western United States. The JV marks DivcoWest’s entry into the growing SFR market.

The joint venture has already closed its first acquisition in Tucson, Ariz., a property at 4300 W. Bunk House Road, and a handful of properties are currently under contract throughout Arizona, Colorado and Nevada, according to Vincent Deorio, vice president of corporate development.

Noting more offers are going out to buyers in Idaho and Utah this week, he said the JV expects to acquire about 2,500 homes for this initial fund with DivcoWest.

Atlas, a full-service company specializing in investment brokerage, property management and institutional acquisitions, currently manages more than 4,200 units in those states through its third-party management business.

“We are thrilled to expand our investment portfolio in the western region of the United States. These SFR homes will spark economic development in all of the communities in which they’re located, including Phoenix, Boise, Salt Lake City, Denver and many other markets, for decades to come,” Deorio told Multi-Housing News.

Atlas has been involved in the SFR industry in a variety of capacities since 2012, including as a broker, investor/LLC and partner. Deorio said Atlas has also serviced some of the largest institutions in the U.S. with property acquisitions and acquired assets independently.

The properties acquired through the JV to date will need varying degrees of renovations, depending on their age, location and other factors, Deorio said. The JV will also use some of the funds for build-to-rent construction in those markets.

“We are aggressively seeking out sites and in conversations with a number of owners of newly-constructed or under-construction projects across all our markets. However, we cannot provide an exact number but it will constitute a meaningful portion of our portfolio,” Deorio told MHN.

DivcoWest and its predecessor have acquired approximately 48 million square feet of commercial space, primarily in the U.S. DivcoWest, which also has offices in Los Angeles, Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Menlo Park, Calif., invests in the office, R&D, lab, industrial, retail and multifamily sectors.

Asked how the JV venture for the SFR market came about with DivcoWest, Deorio responded: “We spoke to a number of potential capital partners and zeroed in on DivcoWest after many in-depth conversations with their team. From the start, they seemed to be a great fit and not only aligned with our vision in the space, but it turns out that we share a remarkably similar corporate culture and values. As a pioneering commercial real estate company with a knack for identifying and capitalizing on high-growth western markets, DivcoWest is a perfect partner for our long-term objectives in the SFR space.”

SFR, BFR Sector Growth

Ryan Boykin, co-founder & partner of Atlas Real Estate, noted the start of the joint venture points to the strength of the SFR housing sector.

The SFR market in the U.S. has been growing and attracting more interest from institutional players like Blackstone Group, Koch Industries, JP Morgan Asset Management, Brookfield Asset Management, Nuveen Real Estate, Rockland Group, Pretium Partners and Ares Management.

Lennar Corp., one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, recently launched a $4 billion BFR platform with Centerbridge and Allianz Real Estate and other institutional investors.

In March, Great Gulf Group formed a SFR partnership with Westdale Real Estate Investment and Management and a global institutional investor with $200 million in equity to build 1,000 to 2,000 BFR homes a year.

At the beginning of this year, Avanta Real Estate, the SFR division of Hunt Cos., formed a joint venture with Iron Point Partners to develop BFR properties.