Casa Mirella apartments
(Casa Mirella apartments in Windermere (Unicorp National Developments))

Toronto-based Milestone Apartments REIT paid $56 million on Nov. 22 for the 276-unit Casa Mirella apartments in Windermere, part of a six-property portfolio acquired from New Jersey-based Raia Properties Corp. first announced in late October, totaling roughly $242.2 million.

Milestone filed notice in the third week of October with the Toronto Stock Exchange that it had reached an agreement to buy six garden-style multifamily properties from Raia, totaling 1,460 units across the Southern United States.

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The deal was expected to close no later than Dec. 1, GrowthSpotter first reported on Oct. 26. Purchase prices for the individual properties were not listed at the time, but the closing last week and deed recorded on Tuesday reflects a price of $202,898 per unit in Windermere.

"We have a long standing history and experience owning and/or managing in the Orlando market," Robert Debs, investor relations director for Milestone Apartments REIT, said on Oct. 26. "We like the overall Orlando market as it exhibits strong underlying fundamentals including demographic, employment and population growth trends, which are key drivers of our strategy."

Raia Properties only purchased the 276-unit Casa Mirella in Windermere in August of last year, when it paid $50 million for the property to original developer Unicorp National Developments.

Unicorp's Casa Mirella apartments in Windermere sell for $50M

Two-year-old property was near full occupancy, but Unicorp wanted the capital to back its extensive list of properties now in development.

Casa Mirella had an occupancy rate above 96 percent and an average rent of $1,474 in October, according to Milestone's summary statement on the deal. Its unit count breaks down as 60 one-bedroom, 156 two-bedroom and 60 three-bedroom units.

A gated community on 20.94 acres at the corner of Roberson and Maguire roads, Casa Mirella was a $40 million development with 216 apartments by Unicorp when it opened in 2013. The property was expanded to 276 units in 2015, with construction completed in July 2015.

It was the only apartment property in Orlando owned by Raia.

Milestone is self-described as the largest REIT listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange focused solely on the U.S. multifamily sector, with more than 70 garden-style properties and 22,000 apartment units across 14 metro markets in the Southeast and Southwest U.S.

That portfolio currently includes three properties in Orlando totaling 1,087 units. With the Casa Mirella addition, Milestone Apartments REIT now has four properties and 1,363 units in Orlando, equivalent to 5.7 percent of its portfolio.

Executives with Raia did not respond to requests for comment.

Fogelman Management Group had been managing the Casa Mirella apartments, but will likely be replaced by Milestone's in-house property manager affiliate, Milestone Management.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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