(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

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TAMPA, FL-The 120-unit Regency Square Apartments here has beensold for $5.1 million, or $42,000 per unit, closing a transactionthat took more than two years to complete. The garden complex at11312 N 15th St. traded for 35% less than its asking price,according to NAI Tampa Bay.

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"This deal was a true test of resiliency on our part and, moreimportantly, on our seller's part," says Bill Renje, multifamilyassociate with NAI Tampa Bay, which represented previous ownerRegency Square Developer in the transaction. He says the apartmentsreceived at least a dozen offers, some of which were above theoriginal price, adding: "Had our seller put the property on themarket six months earlier, we likely wouldn't have ran into thecredit crunch and market decline over the previous 12 months."

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Regency Square was built in the 1970s and encompasses sixtwo-story concrete block buildings with units ranging from studiosto three bedrooms. Occupancy in the apartments has been at least93% over the past three years, according to NAI.

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The new owner, Tampa Regency Apartments LLC, is based in theNortheast and was represented by the NAI James E. Hanson office inHackensack, NJ. The buyer, which paid a cap rate of 8.4%, plans tomake improvements to the complex with NAI Tampa Bay taking overproperty management.

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Casey Babb, multifamily specialist with NAI Tampa Bay, notesthat deal volume for local apartments has dropped significantlythis year though modest acceleration is expected in 2009. "We haveseveral other properties under contract and scheduled to close inthe next two months, and we are currently negotiating on nearly ahalf dozen other deals," says Babb, who worked on the deal withRenje and T. Sean Lance, managing director of NAI Tampa Bay.

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