Hart: u201cFederal Way is a very good market for workforce housing.u201d

LOS ANGELES-TruAmerica Multifamily is eyeing apartment properties for acquisition in two strong Western markets: Seattle and the Silicon Valley, Bob Hart, founder, president and CEO of the firm, tells GlobeSt.com. The company is focusing on markets that have strong workforce housing potential.

As GlobeSt.com reported last week, the locally based real estate investment firm has acquired Arcadia Luxury Townhomes, a 309-unit apartment complex in Federal Way, WA (a Seattle submarket), for $54 million from a firm Hart now identifies as Cornerstone Advisors/Legacy Partners. The acquisition follows the buyer’s recent $38.3-million purchase of the Vineyards in Gilroy, CA, and represents the second addition this month to the firm’s nearly 10,000-unit portfolio.

“Federal Way is a very good market for workforce housing,” Hart tells GlobeSt.com. “There’s not a lot of new construction there, but there’s strong demand, and there’s good proximity to jobs in Seattle. It’s 30 minutes from the major metro part of Seattle, there are rapid bus lines and freeways and good-quality affordable housing [is needed there].”

In the past, Federal Way was a strong area for multifamily, particularly in the Campus Dr. area, Hart adds. He says the region brings in a nice, steady flow of renters, and when he was CEO of Kennedy Wilson, the firm owned many properties there.

Now, TruAmerica is buying two other assets in this market: a 190-unit multifamily called Westhaven and another called Holland, both in West Seattle. Holland will require moderate rehab and is more urban, located closer to the Seattle CBD than the other properties TruAmerica has purchased recently. “We like that area,” says Hart. “It’s growing and an urban-renewal area.”

The firm is also buying Montclair Heights in Renton, WA, a 174-unit property that’s “going to be a big rehab play for us,” says Hart. “We love the area, love the job story—Boeing, tech and lifestyle—of Seattle, and it’s one of our top metro markets.”

Referring to the Vineyards purchase, Hart says he also loves Silicon Valley and Northern California, and says the firm is also eyeing properties in San Diego County and Denver. “It’s all about jobs and transportation-centric right now, as well as affordable rents. We focus on class-B and workforce housing, and we look for areas where we can make improvements and still grow rents.”