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ATLANTA-The property that almost couldn’t be sold finally has a new owner today in locally based Holly Street Trust. On and off the market several times over the last two years, the trust paid Sun Valley, CA-based receiver Rob Evans $1.71 million or $18,000 per unit for the 39-year-old, 95-unit asset in the Intown/Downtown submarket.

Evans is receiver of TLC America Inc., a defunct Sun Valley, CA-based firm with a checkered history in real estate investments.

Chris Johnston, managing director of Atlanta-based Southeast Apartment Partners listed the property and also found the buyer. Most of the properties in the submarket were built in the 1960-1965 period.

“The Intown/Downtown Atlanta market for multifamily properties of this genre is still experiencing significant velocity,” Johnston tells GlobeSt.com. “Obviously, interest rates and favorable financing terms from both bank and institutional lenders have served as a catalyst for trading momentum.”

But Johnston says buyers and underwriters are “paying special attention to capital reserve budgeting and allocation, proactive property enhancement tactics and/or outright repositioning before attempting to quantify the aggressive prices seen today.”

He says “both buyers and sellers in this sector are recognizing that ‘adding value’ is not simply to put a fresh coat of paint and raise rents as happened between 1999 and 2001, but a careful formula of tightening controllable operations dollars and providing tangible benefits to current and prospective tenants.”

The 80%-leased apartment complex has 74 two-bedroom/one-bath units; 20 four-bedroom/two bath units; and one three-bedroom/two-bath unit.

In October 2000, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged TLC principals with fleecing 1,850 investors out of $146 million between 1997 and 2000.

Cossey and Gary W. Williams, TLC’s former chief financial officer, agreed to pay the SEC $11.3 million to settle the charges.

Ernest Frank Cossey, former CEO of TLC America, pleaded guilty in March of this year in U.S. District Court, San Diego of operating a fraudulent investment operation, according to information Evans has posted on his Web site to TLC shareholders.

Cossey pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of filing a false tax return. He faces up to six years in prison. Another TLC principal, Eunan “Brian” Aeria of San Diego also pleaded guilty to having participated in the four-year-old scam.

As of June 19, Evans has returned a total $22 million or about 19.1% of investor claims approved by the court. Other distributions are being worked out, according to the receiver’s Web site.

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