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STAFFORD, TX-A Northeastern US joint venture has acquired the 370-unit Reserve at the Fountains in a Houston suburb by assuming a loan and taking out a second mortgage for a combined debt of about $22.8 million.

Stonepost Properties Inc. of Hackensack, NJ, and CMS Cos. of Philadelphia bought the 21-building complex at 10502 Fountain Lake Dr. in Stafford from its developer, Atlanta-based Trammell Crow Residential. The class A complex, sitting on 15-plus acres, was developed in 1998.

The buyers nor the seller will talk about the closing price. Bill Forrest with the Houston office of Sperry Van Ness Realty Advisors says the Reserve likely brought $25 million to $27 million, based on the current monthly rent average of $940 per unit. Fort Bend County has attached a $23-million assessment to the property.

Gerry Gontowik, president of Stonepost Properties, tells GlobeSt.com that the plan is to pump several hundred thousand dollars into upgrades, including a new paint job for the exterior and some interior upgrades. Over time, rents will be raised in the 94%-leased property, where units average 965 sf, says Gontowik, who’s extremely positive about the asset’s future and bullish on Fort Bend County, particularly the job growth forecast.

To close the deal, the JV assumed a $22.2-million loan, with a 30-year amortization and 6.87% interest, that Trammell Crow Residential secured in summer 1999 through Freddie Mac. The JV also took out a second mortgage with a 25-year amortization and 5.56% interest rate. The combined debt was about $22.8 million at closing time. Kerry French, senior director in Houston for Minneapolis-based NorthMarq Capital Inc. arranged the JV’s financing as he did in 1999 for the Freddie Mac package.

Trammell Crow Residential executives in Houston did not return telephone calls for comment by publication time. Matt Rotan with Southwest Residential Partners in Houston represented Trammell Crow while the JV relied on its inside brokers to negotiate the purchase. Stonepost Properties owns in excess of 1,000 units in the Fort Bend County submarket and another 4,000 apartments in Houston, of which one-fourth are co-owned with CMS Cos.

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