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PHOENIX-Six prospective buyers vied for ownership, but in the end it was an $11.1-million offer that finally bought a New York management firm the title to a 280-unit Smoketree Apartments.

Buyer JRD Management Corp. of Mamaroneck, NY topped all other bids with the offer, which came in about $1.3 million shy of the original $12.4-million price tag hung by seller EJM Development of Los Angeles. It was only the second time that the 189,880-sf complex at 3161 W. Cheryl Dr., adjacent to the Metro Center Mall, has come to the market in its 29-year history. In the early 1980s, the 1974 vintage property was sold to a buyer who later defaulted on the payments, forcing EJM to foreclose, Sean Cunningham of CBRE’s Phoenix office tells GlobeSt.com.

But the seller isn’t worried about a similar occurrence today, Cunningham says. JRD has a strong presence in the Phoenix market, where it picked up two other apartment complexes in just over a year. In 2002, the firm spent close to $7 million for the four-story, 95-unit Cascades Apartments and $9.4 million to take over the 169-unit Arcadia Villas, both in Phoenix.

It was that strong ownership history that helped JRD pull off its third purchase of Smoketree, Cunningham says. “It gave (the seller) confidence” that the buyer would close on the deal, he adds.

The new owner also found some things to be confident about–a 5% vacancy rate for Smoketree, where rents on the complex’s studios, one- and two-bedroom units average $574 per month, and a recent $1.4-million capital outlay by the seller that funded extensive renovation of the property’s major mechanical systems.

Cunningham, along with Tyler Anderson, also with CB Richard Ellis, assisted the seller in the transaction. Bert Kempfer, a fellow CBRE broker, negotiated the deal for the buyer.

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