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IRVING, TX-Buyer and seller won’t talk selling or asking price, but the 210-unit Stoneleigh at Valley Ranch in Irving most likely pushed the $20-million mark in its just-announced sale. Twenty bidders were jockeying for the property, which carries an assessed 2001 market value of more than $15.2 million.

“It’s certainly at the top end of the spectrum,” George Roddy, president of Roddy Information Services Co., tells GlobeSt.com of the sale by Dallas-based Republic Property Group Ltd. to Des Moines-based Principal Life Insurance Co. Properties fetching rents of $1 per sf to $1.10 per sf are bringing $75,000 to $80,000 per unit on the sales block. The Stoneleigh at Valley Ranch at 8605 N. MacArthur Blvd. is situated in one of the region’s highest-income areas. Factor in rent, location and competition and it’s a sure-fire high ticket in a piping hot market. “We have seen some deals close at $100,000 a unit. They are few and far between, but $20 million wouldn’t surprise me,” says the independent analyst.

Republic Property developed the Stoneleigh at Valley Ranch in 1998 in line with its strategy to build, lease and sell. Principal Life Insurance was the top bidder in a final-three face-off for the 14-building complex on 11.2 acres, Brian Selbo, Republic’s senior vice president, tells GlobeSt.com. It was a straight-up sale with no hitches that drove a closing within about three months of coming to market. “We were in no rush to sell it and we feel we got a good price,” he adds.

Dallas’ Jerry Lamm of Lamm Real Estate Ltd. and Steve Church of FirstWorthing represented both parties during the negotiations. Principal Capital Real Estate Investors, also from Des Moines, is life insurance company’s adviser.

Bearing a mid-90% occupancy at sale time, the complex is positioned in an area “with minimal residential development potential,” says Mark Hanrahan, Principal Capital’s acquisition director. It’s a long-term investment with a return rate mortared on the buyer’s confidence in the region. “Despite concerns about the telecom slowdown and airline cutbacks, the Dallas area will remain a vibrant renters market,” he says in a prepared statement.

This marks Principal Capital’s third buy this year on behalf of an institutional client. In early August, the group bought the 449-unit Phoenix, a multifamily purchase that some insiders pegged at $70 million while others said it fetched closer to $80 million. A week later, the investment group grabbed the deed to the 120,000-sf Richardson Office Center II in the Telecom Corridor.

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