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NAPLES, FL-Locally based Cronacher Corps. has sold two rental apartment projects totaling 600 units in Southwest Florida for an estimated $59 million combined. At least one of the buyers is planning to convert the property into condominiums.Capreit Inc., based in Rockville, MD, bought the Colonnades at Spring Creek, a 196-unit, class A, luxury community in Bonita Springs, between here and Fort Myers. While the sale price was confidential, industry sources say the apartment community may have sold for between $22 million and $24 million, or roughly $112,000-plus per unit.The property, located on 9.8-plus acres at 8890 Colonnades Court West in Lee County, consists of nine two- and three-story apartment buildings with poured-in-place concrete construction. Built in 2000, the units range from 818 sf to 1,349 sf, and rent for $830 for a one-bedroom/one-bath apartment to $1,185 for a three-bedroom/two-bath apartment. The property is approximately 98% occupied. Capreit plans to convert the units into condos–a trend that’s more popular in Southeast Florida but is beginning to occur in Southwest Florida as well, according to Kevin Judd, a broker involved in the sale.Mark deBaptiste, who worked with Judd on the sale, says: “Like many other secondary markets throughout Florida, the Naples/Bonita Springs market is experiencing strong condominium sales activity. High-quality rentals are being sought for conversion, which are providing an affordable price point in the market.”Brett Chwick, director of multifamily brokerage for Terranova Corp. in Miami, says while not as much condo conversions are taking place in Southwest Florida, with class A properties, “people want to live there.”The Colonnades at Spring Creek’s amenities include freestanding carports, a resort-style pool, a whirlpool spa, a fitness center, tennis courts and a laundry facility. The units’ luxury features include washer and dryer hook-ups, screened balconies, storage areas, high-speed Internet access, and ceramic tile in the kitchens, baths and foyers.In another transaction, BH Equities of Iowa purchased the 404-unit Arbour Walk apartment community in Naples. The class B+ property, located at 2277 Arbour Walk Circle, was built in 1991. Sources say this property sold for $36 million-plus, or close to $90,000 per unit. Arbour Walk is about 95% occupied. According to Judd, it is questionable whether BH Equities will convert the property into condos. Amenities there include two pools, a fitness center, tennis courts, a volleyball court and a laundry facility.

Judd, senior vice president with the Florida office of Apartment Realty Advisors, and deBaptiste, a principal with the company, represented Cronacher Corps. and were the only brokers involved in both transactions. Judd says a few factors made this a good time for Cronacher Corps. to sell the properties: “market conditions, the flood of population into Southwest Florida, the lack of pipeline of units coming online.” He adds, “It’s a good time to sell anywhere in Florida.”

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