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IRVING, TX-Atlanta-based Lane Realty Advisors has acquired its first Texas multifamily complex in nearly two decades, paying $17.2 million for the 231-unit Vista Pointe in Irving, TX. But, says a company exec, the deal’s just part of this year’s business strategy to add eight to 10 properties to the portfolio by year’s end.

Scott Levitt, Lane Realty’s director of investments, tells GlobeSt.com that the Dallas-Ft. Worth market is ripe for the picking. Some 25 to 30 possible deals were screened before settling into serious talks for the Irving complex.

“Texas is a big part of our acquisition strategy because the market is perfect due to constricting supply,” says Levitt. The buyer also is chasing a deal in San Antonio.

Lane Realty has its eyes on class A properties built after 1990, where there is upside potential in taking what is perceived as a short-term risk. The Atlanta firm, which has a development arm, is looking only at existing properties and generally those with asking prices above $10 million, according to Levitt. The southeastern US and Mid-Atlantic regions also are on the company’s radar screen. Levitt isn’t willing to say how much capital is available for this year’s buys, but the company acknowledged spending $76.4 million in 2000 for five multifamily complexes.

So far this year, Lane has bought the 284-unit Keswick Village Apartments in Conyers, GA and the 204-unit Ft. Bayou in Ocean Springs, MS. Keswick, built in the mid-1990s, cost $18 million and is getting $450,000 in improvements while the 30-something Ft. Bayou went in an all-cash deal for $8.16 million and is in the midst of $2.1 million in upgrades. Irving’s Vista Pointe, completed in 1996, is getting $660,000 in improvements, which will be done by the end of the year. “We think there are a lot of great buying opportunities because some of the markets are soft,” Levitt tells GlobeSt.com.

Brian O’Boyle and Jerry Lamm of O’Boyle-Lamm in Dallas brokered the Irving deal on behalf of seller, Equity Residential of Chicago. The upscale complex, which boasts an occupancy in the mid-90% is located on 13.61 acres in the Valley Ranch section, where land and buys are at a premium, says Levitt.

The Lane Co. manages about 5,000 apartments in Texas, primarily in Dallas and Houston. Until now, the Texas portfolio consisted of only Houston properties: Los Prados, 264 units; Magnolia Cove I and II, 288 units; Regency Crossing, 88 units; and Woods on Beechnut, 234 units.

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