Seattle-based investor expands holdings in Orlando with UCF-area apartments

A Seattle-based real estate firm that specializes in the student housing sector paid $64.75 million on Monday for its second multifamily asset near the University of Central Florida.

Horizon Realty Advisors acquired The Glenn apartments on University Boulevard, about 1.3 miles west of the UCF main campus. Built in 1986, the complex sits on 30 acres and has 396 units.

CBRE Orlando's Luke Wickham, Shelton Granade and Justin Basquille represented the buyer and seller, Insula Companies, in the transaction. CBRE Capital Markets also provided $40.7 million in financing to the buyer.

Wickham told GrowthSpotter the complex was 98-percent occupied at the time of the sale. Despite the proximity to UCF, only a small percentage of renters are college students. Horizon may be looking to reposition the community to the student market, he said.

"We knew Horizon really liked that location, as a lot of people do," he said. "In addition to UCF, there's also 10 million square feet of office in the area and a lot of retail with Waterford Lakes. It's a booming area."

Insula, which specializes in buying and renovating Class B and C multifamily properties, bought the complex in 2016 for $42 million. The company typically invests millions of dollars to refresh its rental communities before putting them back on the market.

Wickham said Insula and the previous owner invested heavily in updating the amenities. But only a handful of apartment units had been renovated, so there's significant value-add opportunity for the new owner.

Horizon entered the Orlando market last year with the acquisition of The Quad, a 384-bed student housing complex on the south side of University Boulevard.

Across its entire portfolio, HRA manages 8,338 units including over 14,000 student housing beds at 12 different universities. The company branched into Orlando last year after making an initial investment in Tampa.

"We bought a student property in June 2017 in Tampa near USF, so the fact we had that asset led us to look at nearby cities, and Orlando has such a great story we felt compelled to try and find something there," partner Rob Marshall told GrowthSpotter at the time. 

HRA invested in The Quad by upgrading the amenities with new fitness equipment, a computer bar and a tanning room. The company also replaced the roofs and renovating the interiors with Standard, Premium and Platinum finish levels to reflect different price points.  

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at lkinsler@GrowthSpotter.com or (407) 420-6261, or tweet me at @LKinslerOGrowth. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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