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DENVER-Boston-based General Investment & Development Co. has paid $78.7 million to Dallas-based JPI for the 652-unit Jefferson at Meridian in the Meridian International Business Park along Denver’s southeast suburban corridor. “It is the largest (apartment) sale in the history of Denver for a single asset,” says Jeff Hawks, who handled the transaction with fellow Grubb & Ellis broker Doug Andrews.

“In fact, the next closest sale was last year, when JPI sold the Jefferson at Lowry for $51 million,” he adds. “So this exploded past that one.”

Tim McEntee, JPI’s divisional president in Denver, says he thinks he could have sold it for even more if he waited longer to lease it up.

“We got a good price, but we sold it when it was 65% or 66% occupied,” McEntee tells GlobeSt.com. “We probably sold it a little early and left some money on the table. But we plan to start construction of 424 units adjacent to it, so we decided to limit our risk in the market and not get too greedy. And this is a pretty huge deal. When you get over $50 million, your buyer pool goes from about 100 to 10.”

This marks the second multifamily rental property that the privately held GID has purchased from JPI in the Denver area. The company owns 18,000 apartments across the US.

“We really think this is a dynamic area,” Nigel Keenan, vice president of acquisitions for GID, tells GlobeSt.com. “Meridian really is the area where the large campus users will be moving. The project has great visibility, it eventually will be close to a light rail station and you have great unobstructed view of a Jack Nicklaus golf course.”

Hawks says the community commands rental rates of more than $1.30 per sf.

“I’d say it gets the highest rental rates of any suburban apartment complex,” Hawks says. “Only Downtown and Lowry get higher rates.”

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