Columbus Square's developers,
Stellar Management and the
Chetrit Group, continue to own
more than 500,000 square feet
of commercial space at the
five-building complex.

(Mark Your Calendars: RealShare Apartments East, February 15th in Washington, DC).

NEW YORK CITY-Less than a year after its first foray into the Manhattan apartment market, Denver-based UDR Inc. has made its fifth. The multifamily REIT has formed a second 50/50 joint venture with MetLife to acquire the five-building Columbus Square complex on the Upper West Side, paying $630 million to buy it from the Chetrit Group and Stellar Management.

The acquisition by UDR/MetLife II brings UDR’s Manhattan portfolio to nine buildings containing 2,626 rental units, according to a release. The five Columbus Square properties at 701 Amsterdam Ave. and 775, 795, 805 and 808 Columbus Ave. total 710 units. Three of the buildings in the complex opened their doors in 2011, with leasing at 805 Columbus beginning as recently as September of last year.

UDR says the Columbus Square deal was partially funded through a combination of 10-year fixed- and floating-rate debt from Fannie Mae, totaling $302.3 million at an average rate of 3.8%. The new JV also assumed $363 million of debt associated with the seven communities contributed from the UDR/MetLife I JV, which includes properties in Philadelphia; Austin, TX; suburban Boston; and suburban Seattle.

Chetrit and Stellar bought what was then Park West Village from the late Leona Helmsley in 2000, paying $122 million and redeveloping it into Columbus Square. The complex includes more than 500,000 square feet of retail; Chetrit and Stellar remain owners of the commercial space. Tenants include Whole Foods, TJ Maxx, Crumbs Bakery, Sephora and HomeGoods.

In a statement, Stellar founder Laurence Gluck says that when Doug Harmon, senior managing director at Eastdil Secured, brokered the deal to acquire Park West from Helsmley, “among the many positive attributes of the site was the ability to build and develop in a neighborhood we thought had long-term potential. Ultimately, with our partners, the Chetrit Group, we executed on that concept and transformed a portion of the Upper West Side of Manhattan into a 24/7 live, work, play neighborhood.” For his part, UDR president and CEO Tom Toomey says in a statement that the deal “speaks to the success of the first UDR/MetLife joint venture and the opportunities available to us to further grow our partnership with MetLife in the future.” Harmon also brokered the sale of Columbus Square to UDR.

UDR had limited its Northeastern presence to the Boston market, where it currently owns or has an ownership interest in 2,721 rental units, before paying the Witkoff Group $260.8 million for 10 Hanover Square last March, a deal also brokered by Harmon. The Downtown rental property at one time was the headquarters of Goldman Sachs. The third quarter of ’11 saw three more UDR deals in Manhattan: $325 million for the Moinian Group’s 507-unit Dwell95 at 95 Wall St., also in Lower Manhattan and also brokered by Harmon; $138 million for the 14-story, 210-unit 21 Chelsea; and the 706-unit, 35-story Rivergate apartment tower in Murray Hill for $443.4 million.