ORLANDO-Blue Rock Partners LLC recently purchased the 168-unitWoodbridge Apartments at 7745 Brandywood Circle in Winter Park.With two additional complexes under contract, the Tampa-basedapartment community owner-operator is making a push to double itsholdings in the Orlando market for a total of 2,000 units.

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Apartment Realty Advisors represented Blue Rock in the deal.Financial terms were not disclosed. But Reuven Oded, co-managingpartner of Blue Rock, tells GlobeSt.com the firm’s acquisitionstrategy targets value-added properties with a significant upsidepotential across Orlando and Tampa. Blue Rock holds nearly 5,000apartment units in Central Florida.

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“We are very bullish on the Orlando metropolitan area,” Odedsays. “Orlando naturally was hit a bit harder because of the skewedtourism component of its economy. With the recovery underway, wefeel the spigots will open and tourists will start to stream intoOrlando and job growth will follow.”

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Oded is also encouraged by the high-speed rail project in Tampa.President Obama approved $1.25 billion in funding for the rail thatruns from Orlando to Tampa. Oded expects the rail to bring jobs andtransportation advantages to the region. “Orlando is going to comeback with a vengeance and we want to be positioned for the demand,”Oded says. “While it may not be this year or next, we feel in thenext three to five years Orlando has a bright future.”

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Some positive trends are already emerging in Orlando’smultifamily market. Tenant demand for class A units has beenresilient, according to Marcus & Millichap. Five of Orlando’s11 submarkets post class A vacancy of less than 10%, thoughconcessions could take a few more quarters to burn off.

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Stephen St. Clair, a director in the Orlando office of Marcus& Millichap, tells GlobeSt.com that Blue Rock’s Orlandoacquisition strategy is not unusual. With most investors bettingthe market is bouncing along the bottom, aggressive cash buyers arecompeting for class B and class A-minus multifamily properties inthe region.

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“Many properties were sold to investors with an eye toward condoconversions and they missed that window,” St. Clair says. “The debtthey put on those properties was so exorbitant that they couldn’toperate at rents high enough to service the debt. That’s why yousee so many broken condos for sale. I expect more to be put on themarket in the next 12 months and companies looking for value-addeddeals will make acquisitions.”

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