EAST ORANGE, NJ-Gaia Real Estate Co. has partnered with HarelInsurance Investments & Financial Services Ltd., one ofIsrael’s largest insurance companies, to invest in residential realestate in the US and, specifically, the Tri-State area.

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To that end, Gaia has acquired several hundred residential unitsin three separate deals: a 48-unit building on Manhattan’s UpperWest Side at 5 W. 91st St. for $16.75 million; a 20-story,265-unit high-rise here for $30 million; and a 92-unit multifamilyproperty at 38 Balaban Rd. in Colchester, Connecticut for $5.4million.

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“The partnership will give Gaia another financing option thatwill help us close deals faster and give us a competitive advantageand flexibility that is necessary in today’s market for success,”says Gaia managing partner Danny Fishman. He explains that allthree properties will be re-branded under the Gaia name and managedby Vision Property Management--a full subsidiary of Gaia.

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According to Fishman, Harel Insurance will invest equity of upto 50% in Gaia deals along with other institutional investors andhigh-net worth individuals. Harel will also provide Gaia with twocredit lines--one for long-term loans and the other for short-termbridge loans to give Gaia the flexibility to buy all cash deals andlater refinance.

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“Gaia enjoys a strong and high-quality deal flow and is workingclosely with banks, private equity funds, REITs and other propertyoperators that want to liquidate their assets,” says AmirYerushalmi, Gaia’s other managing partner, who also reveals thatGaia will soon close on two more transactions--one that involves alarge commercial building.

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The East Orange asset, in particular, at 320 HarrisonSt., has 337,455 rentable square feet, 265 residential unitsand ground floor commercial space. According to Gaia, substantialunit renovations and property-wide capital improvements will beundertaken, including the inclusion of more amenities andconversion of commercial space to residential units.

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