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PHOENIX-In what is the highest price paid per unit for an apartment complex in the Valley this year, a local investment firm has shelled out more than $138,000 per unit for a 220-unit complex along the Camelback Corridor. Starpoint Properties of Scottsdale has paid $30.5 million to the Frankel Family Trust of Anaheim, CA.

The Meridian on the Biltmore apartments is positioned at 5104 N. 32nd St. Until the sale, the highest per unit price realized was $115,000 for the Camelback Lofts in Scottsdale.

Over the coming months, Starpoint Properties plans to convert the four-story apartments into for-sale condominium units. Being along the Camelback Corridor, at the northwest corner of 32nd Street and Camelback Road, the 10-year old apartment complex is near perhaps the most sought-after office property in the Valley. It’s also adjacent to some of the most upscale shopping, in the Biltmore Fashion Park and some of the Valley’s most opulent housing.

“It’s one of the prime multifamily properties in the Phoenix metro areas for conversion,” Jeff Swenson of Swenson Realty Group Inc., which brokered the deal, tells GlobeSt.com. “It’s really well located. They have nice units that are good sized. Location is everything and Meridian has it.”

The project will compete favorably with other condominium projects that are under development, including Esplanade Place, a high-rise condominium project at the southeast corner of 24th Street and Camelback Road, Swenson says. Condos in some of the competing projects are selling for as much as $350 per sf. The Meridian condos are expected to fetch between $200,000 and $300,000, Swenson says, representing a sizeable discount from prices being charged at nearby projects.

There is a great deal of interest from condominium developers and investors to find apartments that will convert well into condominium projects, Swenson says. “There are not a lot of conversions going on right now,” he says. “Frankly, finding the right quality multifamily project at a competitive price for a conversion is a task.”

After years of building on the fringe of the Valley, where land was relatively cheap and available, condo developers are now looking to build in urban areas. Downtown Tempe, downtown Scottsdale and downtown Phoenix all have major projects under way. Phoenix is large enough now that it has a population that wants to live in a more urban setting to live, work and play all in the same area. “The urban living environment is very enticing,” Swenson says. “In a lot of major metro markets, the urban downtown living is extraordinarily popular.”

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