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ORLANDO-Praedium Group LLC, a 12-year-old, New York City-based real estate investment firm that focuses on underperforming and undervalued assets, has acquired a six-property, 642-unit multifamily portfolio in Florida from Chicago-based Equity Residential Properties for $17 million, or $26,500 per unit.

The deal marks the second bulk multifamily acquisition Praedium has closed with its local partner, Affirmative Equities, in the past two years.

“A major capital improvements program to improve curb appeal will be undertaken immediately,” says Praedium CFO Frank Patafio. The properties, in four Florida markets, are 88% rented.

Robert E. Smith, president of Orlando-based Smith Equities Corp., a major Florida multifamily brokerage which tracks apartment sales statewide, tells GlobeSt.com Praedium paid “a very good price” for Equity’s Southeast Residential Portfolio II and should benefit from the planned improvements. “It sounds like a good deal” for Praedium, Smith says.

The properties are Brandywyne East and the Landings Apartments in Winter Have, FL; Sky Pines I and II and Woodlands I and II in Orlando; Clearlake Pines II in Cocoa; and Morningside in Titusville.

In 2001, Praedium and Affirmative Equities jointly acquired 19 properties in a single portfolio containing 1,221 apartment units in Orlando, Tampa and surrounding areas, along with a multifamily property in Savannah, GA.

Commenting on the newest acquisition, Patafio says, “This investment opportunity allows us to enhance value as we give the properties a needed facelift.” He says Praedium “expects to manage the assets more effectively as a whole, benefiting from the economies of scale attributed to both portfolios, and by leveraging our previous experience with this property type in Central Florida.”

Praedium has closed on $2 billion in multifamily investments to date in North America, the company adds.

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