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Utah real estate investment firm makes market entry with purchase of new apartments next to O-Town West

Epoch Residential sold its 250-unit Veere Apartments community for $68.5 million, or $274,000 per unit.
Epoch Residential sold its 250-unit Veere Apartments community for $68.5 million, or $274,000 per unit. (Epoch Residential)

White Castle isn’t the only thing luring people to O-Town West these days. Real estate investment companies are interested in being there, too.

Utah-based Blackfish Investments just bought a 250-unit apartment community next to the large mixed-use district being developed by Unicorp National Developments. Blackfish Investments paid $68.5 million, or $274,000 per unit, for the recently completed multifamily development at 10000 Palma Linda Way.

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“Utah has a very strong multifamily market... Orlando was our second pick to our hometown. That says an awful lot,” Dave Freeman, a founding principal at Blackfish Investments, told GrowthSpotter.

He said this is the company’s first acquisition in the metro Orlando market, but it’s bought and has since sold properties in Tampa. “We’re more of an opportunistic company,” Freeman said. “As we find opportunities we’ll take advantage of them.”

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The seller is Epoch Residential. The company paid $7.5 million for the 10-acre site in 2018 and began construction on the apartments shortly after with the help of a $31.63 million loan from BB&T, now Truist.

Community amenities at Veere Apartments feature a two-story clubhouse, a resort-style pool, a two-story fitness center, resident library with work spaces and a gated dog park with indoor pet spa.
Community amenities at Veere Apartments feature a two-story clubhouse, a resort-style pool, a two-story fitness center, resident library with work spaces and a gated dog park with indoor pet spa. (Epoch Residential)

Berkadia’s managing directors Brett Moss and Matthew Wilcox, alongside associate director Tyler Swidler, secured the sale on behalf of Epoch Residential.

Records show Blackfish Investments financed the deal with a $36.25 million loan from Nationwide Life Insurance Company. Berkadia’s Michael Weinberg and associate directors Wesley Moczul and Alec Fox arranged the financing on behalf of Blackfish Investments.

Built in 2020, the Veere Apartments community contains three, 4-story multifamily buildings, a two-story clubhouse, resort-style pool and a two-story fitness center. Other amenities include a resident library with workspaces and a gated dog park with indoor pet spa.

One-, two- and three-bedroom units include stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, walk-in closets, USB charging ports and electronic keyless entry.

The latest deals illustrate capital lenders' confidence in Orlando's rebounding economy. The two projects will add about 650 luxury rental units to the market.

Blackfish is a real estate investment company that specializes in multifamily and student housing. Freeman said the company has been active for 30 years. According to its website, the firm has acquired over $1 billion in multifamily assets nationwide and underwritten more than $2.5 billion of real estate acquisitions.

The Veere Apartments complex neighbors O-Town’s City Center, poised to include Marriott Vacations Corp. headquarters, a 160-room hotel and 26,000 square feet of retail space.

O-Town West is a multi-phased project in Orlando’s Dr. Phillips area that is approved for over 1,500 residential units with retail, dining and office space divided among four sub-districts.

Earlier this year, Unicorp broke ground on The Bentley, a 396-unit midrise apartment community at O-Town West.

Site development work for The Glass House, a trio of 8-story residential towers in the Village subdistrict is underway. Unicorp received a $77 million loan in December from Goldman Sachs to finance the first phase of that project, which includes the first tower and the lagoon amenity.

Publix, Crunch Fitness, White Castle, World of Beer and Portillos are just some of the retailers announced to open locations at O-Town West. The large mixed-use project is slated to be complete by the fourth quarter of this year, according to recent reports.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at arabines@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-5427, or tweet me at @amanda_rabines. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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