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LAFAYETTE, CA-Bascom Northwest Ventures paid about $8.5 million for Park Terrace Apartments, a 67-unit apartment complex here that was constructed in 1964. The sellers, Daniel and Arnold Scher, acquired the property in 1993 for $4.2 million, according to the Contra Costa County Assessors office.Bascom Northwest is the apartment redevelopment affiliate of the Bascom Group, an Irvine-based private real estate investment company. The company’s goal is to acquire Bascom’s $300 million of apartments in and around San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Salt Lake City over the next three years.Bascom Northwest says it saw Park Terrace as an opportunity to acquire an infill project in an area with high single-family home prices and a strong school system. Home prices in Lafayette start at $600,000 and the Lafayette/Orinda public school district consistently tests as one of the best in the entire state of California, says Bascom.Amenities at the property include two pools, two laundry facilities and a fitness center. Bascom says it intends a few upgrades in order to create an amenity package that will lend itself to professional parents with school age children that desire a Lafayette address. Brian Wirtz, managing director of Bascom Northwest Ventures, LLC, oversaw the acquisition out of the company’s San Francisco office. David Kim, managing director of the Bascom Group, LLC, will manage the operations and repositioning of the property.Wirtz says apartment demand in the East Bay continued to remain weak in the first quarter due mainly to the region’s ongoing job losses. Rents have decreased each year for four straight years with an expected rent decrease of 3.5% to 4% in 2004. The vacancy rate has gone from a low of 1.2% in 2000 to nearly 5.8% recently. “The systemic nature of job losses illustrates that the tech bust has, and continues to permeate, nearly all aspects of the Bay Area economy, even the relatively less tech dependent East Bay,” says Wirtz. “We are starting to see more owners give up on expectations of a recovery in 2004, worry about increasing interest rates, and renew their interest in selling their properties.”The seller had self-managed the property. Bascom hired Vasona Management to manage the property. Vasona owns and/or manages 50 apartment communities throughout the Bay Area, including Ladera Woods, a previous Bascom acquisition in the region.

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