Toro Real Estate Grows Jacksonville Presence

The Long Island-based company now has 756 units in the city, after adding three properties and 552 units in deals totaling $39 million.
River City Landing. Image courtesy of Toro Real Estate Partners

Toro Real Estate Partners has acquired three properties, totaling 552 units, in Jacksonville, Fla., for $39 million.

“The appeal was attractive expense adjusted yields—tax included—north of a 6 percent cap rate with clear value-add potential on interiors, exteriors and amenity additions/enhancements,” John Cohen, Toro’s co-founder, told Multi-Housing News. “We also liked how it rounded out five different neighborhoods across our now five properties in Jacksonville.”

Whispering Oaks, located at 4800 Atlantic Blvd., and Highlander Apartment Homes, located at 10621 Monaco Drive, were acquired off-market, while River City Landing, located at 2681 University Blvd. N., was sourced through Dhaval Patel at Walker & Dunlop. 

“All three of these properties fit right in with our company philosophy by being located in an incredible market with high population growth, positive supply and demand and low unemployment,” Don DiRenzo, Toro’s co-founder, told MHN. “These are some of the main demographic and economic trends we look for, especially supply and demand which has been roughly a 12:1 ratio of population growth to new housing units, and is only forecasted to drop to around 7-9:1.”

With the deals, the company now has five properties and 756 units in Jacksonville and 756 units overall. Lisa Massis at Lofty Asset Management will manage all five of these properties.

“It definitely rounds us out in terms acquiring a property on the Northside, in Arlington, and in the Southside submarkets which pairs up nicely with our two properties in the Westside submarket,” Cohen said. “Each of the new properties are in growing areas with either newer, solid retail coming in, or development happening very close by, which shows strength and desirability for these immediate areas.”  

Changes Are Coming

According to Cohen, Toro tends to seek properties where they have the ability to add to or enhance the exterior/amenity set while bringing interiors up to market, and with this trio of properties, all lack in different areas in those categories, and roughly half of the units will be renovated as part of a $4 million renovation strategy.

Whispering Oaks will have all exteriors painted, its landscaping updated, an outdoor fitness center added and will be rebranded with new signage along with further interior upgrades.

“Highlander will have a lot of the accent colors changed, but brick will remain the same,” DiRenzo said. “There will be new branding, a new pool fence, gutters added where needed, all new landscaping, cement repairs and interior upgrades.”

River City Landing will have a functional security gate added, excess trees will be cleared away, the interior hallway will be pained and its basketball court and tennis court will be overhauled.

CBRE’s Ben Weddington facilitated two Freddie Mac Small Balance loans for Toro to acquire Whispering Oaks and Highlander; while Walker & Dunlop’s Jeremy Nussbaum secured the loan for River City Landing.

Jacksonville has been a hot market. In April, InvestRes sold Mandarin Apartments, a 401-unit garden-style multifamily property in the city, for $36 million.