Land Purchase and Financing Kickstart $47M Suburban Denver Apartment Project

Littleton, Colo.--In a Denver suburb named Littleton, where the limited amount of land for apartment projects is highly coveted, Wood Partners L.L.C. has taken two major steps forward in the development of the 280-unit Alta Aspen Grove.

Littleton, Colo.–In a Denver suburb named Littleton, where the limited amount of land for apartment projects is highly coveted, Wood Partners L.L.C. has taken two major steps forward in the development of the 280-unit Alta Aspen Grove. The Atlanta-based national real estate company wrapped up the acquisition of a 17.5-acre parcel for the luxury multifamily project and secured $47 million for its development.

Alta Aspen Grove will be a premier, garden-style residential property befitting its environs. “Littleton is a very upscale, older, established neighborhood of Metro Denver,” Tim McEntee, the Wood Partners director charged with overseeing all of the company’s Colorado developments, tells MHN. “Houses on either side of the lake are $3 million to $5 million.”

With the address of 7317 South Platte River Parkway, Alta Aspen Grove will sit right on the edge of the tony Polo Reserve neighborhood. Highlighting the apartment site is the 660-acre Carson Nature Preserve with lake and river access on one side, and the open-air, 260,000-square-foot Aspen Grove Shopping Center on the other. Beyond the entrance of the gated community will be 17 two- and three-story structures encompassing one-, two- and three-bedroom residences with high-end amenities, as well as a state-of-the-art fitness center, clubhouse, entertainment area, media center and cyber cafĂ©. Green is a central theme for Wood Partners’ projects, so the eco-friendly, transit-oriented development (TOD)–a light rail station is within close proximity–will be heavy on sustainable features, meeting the national ENERGY STAR standards for efficiency and achieving LEED certification. “It will be the first LEED-certified garden product in Denver,” McEntee says. “That will be a powerful draw for tenants.”

In addition to the property’s desirable offerings, Alta Aspen Grove’s prime location in a relatively successful apartment market is likely to accelerate the lease-up process. “Only 1,200 apartment units have been approved in Littleton over the last 15 years,” he notes. The apartment vacancy rate in Littleton is 5.4 percent, and Metropolitan Denver is not far behind with a Class A vacancy rate of 5.8 percent, according to a midyear report by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services. “We’ve had improvement in rent and occupancy levels in the last three quarters, so the Denver market is in really good shape.”

Wood Partners acquired the land for Alta Aspen Grove debt-free from local developer Quadrant Properties and simultaneously wrapped up the financing package, which the company will enhance with its own equity. Prudential Mortgage Capital Company orchestrated the construction loan for the project through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Even with HUD’s active presence in the market, money for multifamily developments is not being handed out like candy, but the Alta Aspen Grove has a few advantages that helped smooth the way. “It’s kind of a trifecta. It’s adjacent to multimodal transportation, it’s sandwiched between a shopping mall and a nature preserve and it’s in a high barrier-to-entry market. The submarket is very tough to get into and the overall Denver apartment market is very good and that all adds up to make Alta Aspen Grove pretty special. It’s a TOD, the market’s good, the submarket’s good and the mixed-use adjacent to the property was probably what really got them excited.”

With construction commencing immediately, Alta Aspen Grove will be available for lease by spring 2011.