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PALM SPRINGS, CA-Churchill Capital Advisors LLC of Chicago bought the 152-unit Plaza Apartments from Newport Beach-based Steadfast Properties for $9.5 million.

Broker Marty Combs of Grubb & Ellis, who represented the seller, tells GlobeSt.com that the purchase price of $62,500 per unit was among the highest per unit prices paid recently for comparable properties in the Inland Empire.

Combs adds, however, that per-unit prices of more than $60,000, which were once rare, are becoming increasingly common as the continued investor interest in Southern California apartment properties pushes prices higher.

“There have now been at least 25 completed sales of more than $60,000per unit in the Inland Empire,” Combs tells GlobeSt.com.

The 152-complex, at 2300 E. Tahquitz Canyon Way in Palm Springs, is of a size that would be expected to attract institutional investors, who generally prefer complexes of 100 units and above. But Combs says Palm Springs hasn’t attracted institutional investors in the way that larger cities in Southern California have.

“There are less than 300 buildings of 100 units or more in the Inland Empire, and it’s usually private capital going after them, not institutional buyers,” Combs says.

Built in 1972, the Plaza Apartments was 94% occupied at the time of the sale. It is a two-story, wood frame and stucco complex that includes 96 one-bedroom units and the rest two-bedroom, two-bath apartments. Steadfast, which had owned the Plaza complex since 1997, has owned,renovated and managed more than 10,000 apartment units, including morethan 7,500 that it now owns and operates in California and Hawaii.

The multifamily division is the largest division of the company, which also owns office, industrial and retail properties in Southern California. It also has established AMX Resort Holdings to acquire resort properties in the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and Latin America.

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