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DALLAS-Dallas-based Trivest Real Estate has acquired its sixth multifamily complex, paying about $14 million in an aggressive buying spree that started in November 2000. In the coming year, another five to 10 communities will be added to the budding portfolio.

The newest acquisition is a 95%-occupied, 268-unit development of JPI and a group of private investors. The former Jefferson at Preston, situated at 6820 Preston Rd. in Plano, has been renamed to Avendale Apartments and is now in the early stages of a $700,000 upgrade, Dean Lontos, Trivest managing partner, tells GlobeSt.com.

Trivest has its eyes on more acquisitions in Dallas-Ft. Worth and Houston. Stay tuned because a letter of intent has gone out on a property in Houston. Lontos says the deal should close in 60 days, if all goes as planned.

The region’s sizzling multifamily market baited 25 to 35 bidders for the Avendale and drove a short marketing period and quick closing, according to Lontos. Boston-based Berkshire Mortgage Finance structured the loan, which includes mezzanine financing through a Berkshire affiliate and longer-term funding through Freddie Mac. Brian O’Boyle and Jerry Lamm, both of O’Boyle Properties Inc. in Dallas, negotiated the sale. Jefferson at Preston Ltd. is the seller of record.

The Avendale, though a JPI-managed property, offered just what the buyer looks for in terms of location and ability to beef up returns with a capital improvement project. As tenants move out, units will be upgraded and rent hiked. The units are bringing $645 to $1,035 per month, a low cost for a high-income area. Lontos says the complex was built during JPI’s early days and isn’t indicative of the high-end quality found in its present-day portfolio. It’s nice, but it’s going to be nicer. Upon closing, Trivest slid its management entity into the complex. “We feel the ability to control the management and renovate are extremely important in reaching the return criteria that we set for ourselves,” says Lontos.

In the next year, Lontos says another five to 10 buys will close, staying in the ballpark purchase range of $10 million. In November 2000, the fledgling investment group made its first buy, a 200-unit complex in Bosier City, LA. April saw the close of the 220-unit Northgate Apartments in Irving. At the end of May came the deed-taking to the 324-unit El Dorado Ranch in Clear Lake, TX, an upscale Houston suburb bolstered by the presence of NASA. August brought the 324-unit purchase of Barcley Square, now Antilles Apartments, also in Houston.

Lontos, Ron Taylor and Zach Maggart started Trivest last year when Whitehall Funds bought out McNeil Real Estate of Dallas. McNeil’s senior management team formed Trivest and brought on board Dallas-based Archon Group’s multifamily veteran, Jack Kinzer, in January. The team now includes an 11-member corporate staff and 39 field employees assigned to the five properties.

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