TAMPA, FL-The latest in a string of class A multifamily buys,Boston-based Panther Properties has acquired Lakeland’s VictoriaManor Apartments for $36.5 million. Built in 2006 and offering 352units, the property sits on 23.31 acres between Tampa andOrlando.

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Cushman & Wakefield’s Orlando Apartment Brokerage Servicesteam represented the seller, the original developer of theproperty. The firm could not immediately be reached for comment.Panther Properties secured a 10-year Freddie Mac CME loan throughBethesda, MD-headquartered Walker & Dunlop Real EstateFinancial Services.

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“We are confident this will be a successful acquisition due tothe stringent evaluation standards, strong operating fundamentalsand best class multifamily property in this submarket,” says DavidMasse, co-founder of Panther Properties. “This acquisition alignswith our overall strategy of acquiring investment grade class Acore multifamily assets constructed within the last five to sevenyears located in the Southeastern United States.”

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Victoria Manor Apartments is less than one mile south ofInterstate 4, central Florida’s primary transportation hub. Thenewly acquired property features one-, two- and three-bedroomluxury apartments in a gated community with amenities such as astate-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor basketball court, an airconditioned racquetball court, car wash, two off-leash petwalks, pet wash, Tiki bar, resort style pool, spa, and privatecabanas. Panther plans to make numerous upgrades to the propertyincluding several interior apartment upgrades as well as exteriorimprovements including landscaping.

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Jack McCabe, principal at Deerfield Beach-based McCabeConsulting, tells GlobeSt.com that it’s hard to find apartmentsbuilt between five to seven years ago that weren’t scooped up atpremium prices and converted during the condo boom. Newerproperties like Victoria Manor Apartments have been selling frombetween $85,000 and $120,00 a door, McCabe says, making this dealfairly priced.

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“There are a lot of companies sitting on piles of cash that theyneed to disperse or return,” McCabe says. “With a number ofinstitutionals and private equity firms running out of time onmaking acquisitions, we’ll see the apartment transactions escalatein 2011.”

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