The Metro West Apartments

COLUMBUS—Havenwood Townhomes has just purchased Metro West Apartments, one of Columbus’ largest, and most troubled, apartment complexes. The affiliate of the Utah-based Romney Group will take charge of 1,200 units at 4312 Westport Rd. and promises to transform them into class A homes. The price was not disclosed and company officials were not available by press time.

The oldest portions of Metro West were constructed in 1965, but a general decline of the area, and a devastating and deadly fire in 2004 left many buildings vacant. However, the opening of the nearby Hollywood Casino in 2012 and a recent influx of retail businesses has brought about a bit of a revival and attracted investors’ interest.

“This community was the largest value-add multi-family asset in the Midwest,” says Barry Swatsenbarg, the national director, investment and loan sale advisory services for Friedman Integrated Real Estate Solutions, a Farmington Hills, MI-based company. Swatsenbarg, along with senior vice president Rich Deptula, handled the recent sale.

The Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation has already been at work getting the development ready for a transformation. Over 300 of the 1,700 units were demolished in the past few months and an additional 328 will get knocked down in May. Havenwood plans to remodel 856 of the remaining townhomes into two, three, and four bedroom units, and launch a multimillion-dollar interior and exterior renovation.

“It is a terrific investment in a growth location and offers limitless repositioning opportunities,” says Swatsenbarg.