Investing in Areas Based on Income and Education Levels

Inside Bell Partners' new community.
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Austin, Texas—Bell Partners Inc. has acquired Estancia Apartments, a 276-unit garden-style community in southwest Austin, Texas, and will rename the development Bell Hill Country.

“We have pursued this investment for over three years and are pleased to have acquired it from the original developer,” Nickolay Bochilo, Bell’s senior vice president of investments, told MHN. “The property’s location, expected growth in the area, our deep presence in the market, and opportunity to improve investment performance attracted us to this investment.”

Originally constructed in 2009, the property consists of 12 three-story buildings, comprised of a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans.

Units feature 9-foot ceiling heights, GE black appliances, laminate countertops, tile backsplash, wood finish cabinets with brushed nickel hardware, double stainless steel sinks, full size washers/dryers and private patios or balconies.

Community amenities include a clubhouse containing a Bistro Kitchen, billiards, a hilltop resort-style pool, an outdoor kitchen with gas grills, a Wi-Fi lounge and business center and a clothes care center. There is also covered parking for most units.

Bell plans to invest in the unit interiors and amenities for the residents. Specifically, it will upgrade kitchens and baths, and improve resident amenity spaces in the clubhouse with emphasis on fitness, pool, and gathering spaces.

The community is located in an upscale area, nearby affluent neighborhoods with some of the highest single-family home values in the region.

“We seek to invest in properties located in areas with top quartile demographics—by income and education levels—and where it is challenging to develop new apartments,” Bochilo said. “We also target investments that are in need of capital infusion to upgrade apartment homes and amenities, and can benefit from focused management. Estancia Apartments (now Bell Hill Country) fits this criteria.”

Situated on an elevated 45-acre site, Bell Hill Country offers panoramic 360 degree views and is only 10 miles from Austin’s central business district, providing residents with easy access to the city’s employment hub and its varied retail and lifestyle venues.

According to Bochilo, the company is intensely focused on picking neighborhoods with attractive long fundamentals.

“In this case, we like the fact that it is extremely difficult to develop new property in the area due to environmental considerations (Edwards Aquifer),” he said. “The area is also home to some of the most expensive homes in Austin, great schools and convenient access to employment.”