The exchange buyer was Los Angeles-based Monem Corp., a privateinvestment firm focused on acquiring value-added multifamilyproperties in Los Angeles County. Monem bought a 24-unit complex at5463 Carlton Way in Los Angeles for $3.3 million after selling aseven-unit complex at 3545 Keystone Ave. in Los Angeles fromKeystone Properties LLC for more than $1.41 million.

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At a time when every deal that closes raises the question, "Howwas it financed?" Monem Corp. president Danny Monempour comments:"Though the financial market continues to struggle, we were able tosecure a very attractive three-year fixed-loan at 6% with 30% downto acquire Carlton Way." Built in 1965, the 5463 Carlton Waycomplex is 100% leased and features 14 one-bedroom/one bathroomunits and 10 two bedroom/two bathroom units. Rents range from $650to $1,800.

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Monempour, who says that Monem Corp. is looking to acquire moremultifamily properties in the Los Angeles area, notes that hisfirm's $1.41 million sale of the Keystone Avenue property resultedafter an unsolicited offer. Monem bought the property for $990,000in 2005. Both Monem and the seller were represented by Tony Azzi ofMarcus & Millichap in the acquisition on Carlton Way.

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The Koreatown buyer was Lion Real Estate Group, which bought an18-unit apartment building at 724 S. Berendo St., about a block anda half south of Wilshire Boulevard in what Lion calls a "PrimeKoreatown" location. Lion paid $3.1 million for the property, whichit bought from a private investor.

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The acquisition marks the second investment in Koreatown forLion, a privately held firm that was founded early this year tofocus on value-added and opportunistic multifamily properties inLos Angeles. Lion's principals say they are actively pursuing otherinvestment opportunities that should enable them to reach 100 unitsin the area by year's end.

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The other Koreatown complex that Lion bought was a 12-unit,non-rent-controlled property. Mory Barak, a principal of Lion RealEstate Group, describes Koreatown as "unlike any other sub marketin Los Angeles from an investment perspective." Vacancy rates arelower than the rest of Los Angeles and rents are increasing, butvaluations have not kept up with the surrounding sub markets, Baraksays. As a result, "Koreatown presents great investmentopportunities," he says.

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Lion plans to renovate both the exterior of the 724 S. BerendoSt. building and its vacant units immediately. The firm has tappedForm+Function Design Group to come up with the design scheme forthe building and assist with the renovation, which is expected totake three to four months.

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Lion Group principal Jeff Weller notes that rents for theproperty, which had five vacancies at the time of closing, areapproximately 15% to 20% below average for the area. Lion plans toincrease rents to market upon completion of the renovation and aimsto be 100% occupied within six months of closing, Weller says. "Ourgoal is to stabilize the property in 12 to 18 months."

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In the third deal, a Los Angeles-based private investor bought a17-unit complex at 9116 Palm St. in Bellflower for $2.1 millionfrom a Temecula, CA-based private investor who was represented byPat Swanson and Nordee S. Saritvanich of Sperry Van Ness RealEstate Services in Irvine, CA. The buyer was represented by Y.K.Liang of Century 21.

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The property, which was built in 1963, features eight onebedroom/one bath units, eight two bedroom/1.5 bath units and onenon-conforming unit. It was 100% occupied at the time of the sale,with rents ranging from $895 to $1,195.

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