Former Pittsburgh furniture magnate spends $60M+ on new Longwood apts
By Mike Salinero
May 15, 2018 | 3:53 PM
The former owner of a 98-year-old, Pittsburgh-based furniture chain recently plowed some profits from the company's sale into a $60.06 million purchase of Class A apartments in Longwood.
Robert Levin, former president of Levin Furniture Co., joined with two investors to buy the 286-unit Alexander at Sabal Point, according to a deed recorded May 8 in Seminole County. The luxury apartments, located on Alexander Circle east of Wekiva Springs Road, opened last year.
Levin Family Partnership LP has an 88 percent stake in the new ownership group. Bob Brehmer, an Ohio investor and one of Levin's two partners, told GrowthSpotter the group was trying to diversify its holdings outside the Midwest.
They learned the Longwood apartments were available through Tampa broker Casey Babb, vice president of investments with Marcus & Millichap.
"We liked the product," Brehmer said. "It's an upscale product and an amenity-rich property, not a commodity apartment building. The developer was highly regarded for his real estate acumen and the quality of his product so that attracted us to him."
Riva's company broke ground on The Alexander at Sabal Point in August 2016. He estimated his company spent $47 million on the complex.
Riva said Tuesday he sold the relatively new property because the time was ripe.
"There are a lot of investment dollars out there," he said. "Orlando is a very attractive area for investment in multifamily. (Investors) like the growth dynamics of the city and they like the job creation."
Robert Levin sold his family-owned furniture company in November for an undisclosed price. The buyer, Art Van Furniture, is the Midwest's no. 1 furniture and mattress retailer.
Art Van Furniture kept the Levin name on the company's 33 stores in Pennsylvania and Ohio and retained its 925 employees, according to regional media reports.
"They sold out of the furniture business," Riva said. "Now, they're taking those profits and reinvesting them in real estate."
Brehmer said that about a month before he and his partners bought the Longwood complex, they acquired about 100 acres of industrial/flex property south of Tampa in the Ruskin area. He said the partners are interested in office and industrial properties along with multifamily.
"Our funds are going into Class A properties with a long life cycle that we think will hold their values," Brehmer said.
Brehmer said Bell Partners will continue to manage The Alexander at Sabal Point.
Riva, whose company has also developed the 330-unit Alexander at Countryside in Clearwater, said he intends to reinvest his profits from the Longwood sale in more Greater Orlando projects.
"I'm considering several opportunities right now but nothing's definite," he said.
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