Laketown Wharf

PANAMA BEACH, FL—No one wants to remember the Great Recession and the real estate meltdown in the midst of it—except the investors that scooped up assets that they are now selling at a premium. That’s ST Residential‘s story.

ST, a manager of properties owned by a public-private partnership between the FDIC and a group of leading US private real estate investors, has tapped CBRE to sell its interest in Laketown Wharf. Laketown Wharf is a highly amenitized, direct Gulf view resort property located in Panama City, FL.

“Laketown Wharf offers new owners the opportunity to buy into a rising Florida market, to benefit from a shortage of supply, and to have optionality in terms of overall execution through a large-scale asset,” Jon Pertchik, president and CEO of ST, tells GlobeSt.com. As above-average population growth continues and Florida’s healthcare and tourism industries expand, experts predict housing demand in Panama City will accelerate further.

Located at 9902 South Thomas Drive, the 22-story property recently underwent an $8 million renovation and enhancement plan. Laketown Wharf offers 699 units in the 795-unit property, 110,000 square feet of retail space and amenities including five pools, a separate sales center, arcade, putting green, security, dedicated beach access, and a circular boardwalk surrounding an on-property lake, with several food and beverage and event opportunities. The new owner can operate the property as a combined apartment and hotel, or to convert to condo.

“There are a variety of execution strategies available to the new owner as well as additional upside from branding the asset, adding meeting space to the property, improving the onsite food and beverage operations, and creating operating efficiencies, all of which would greatly improve performance,” Robert Given, vice chairman of CBRE, tells GlobeSt.com. In 2012, CBRE completed a bulk condo sale of 312 units at The Shores at Panama, a condominium property directly across the street from Laketown Wharf.

Laketown Wharf offers a collection of one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, all with full-size kitchen, with an average unit size of 1,248 square feet. Currently, 399 of the units are being operated as apartments and 300 units as a hotel. The apartment units are 96% occupied.

“We took a view at acquisition four years ago to be patient with the property to give the Florida panhandle real estate market time to recover,” Kelvin Davis, head of global real estate for TPG, one of the investors in STR, tells GlobeSt.com. “During that period, we invested significant capital and time to improve the property while enjoying the benefit of positive property level cash flow.”

The listing represents the latest example of ST successfully repositioning the assets it manages on behalf of the public-private partnership. Since acquiring the assets through the acquisition of a portfolio held by the former Corus Bank in October 2009, ST has earned a reputation for repositioning and improving properties.

“The Corus Bank transaction has performed extremely well for the FDIC and our private investor group,” says Barry Sternlicht, chairman and CEO of Starwood Capital Group and chairman of ST. “To date, roughly $1.4 billion of FDIC purchase money notes have been repaid and we have returned an additional $2.6 billion plus to the partnership. Forty-four loans have paid off at par and we have sold 98% of the condo inventory we acquired at ever escalating prices.”

In addition to Given, Zachary Sackley, Brian Moulder, and Neal Victor, with the South Florida Multi-Housing Group, are marketing the property. Robert Kaplan and Mark Rutherford of Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group in Miami are also on the marketing team.