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GARLAND, TX-A six-month-old investment group, with seasoned players at the helm, has spent $11 million for the 236-unit Brambletree Apartments, anteing up full price to pre-empt marketing for its first acquisition. By mid-January, the multifamily portfolio builder plans to be holding titles to another 1,000 units in Dallas and Charlotte, NC.

“We put a price on the table that’s compelling in the beginning,” David Wieland, the Austin-based partner in Mission Residential LLC, an entity of Finlay Partners Holding Co. tells GlobeSt.com. He says Brambletree Apartments, renamed to Mission Spring Creek, is the first asset for what is being set up as a branded portfolio, primarily destined for the tenants-in-common marketplace.

The buyer intends to TIC partition the 93%-leased Mission Spring Creek, positioned on 10 acres at 1802 Apollo Rd. in Garland, and the next three acquisitions, says Wieland, who’s partnering with Chris Finlay of Vienna, VA for an investment play with a five- to seven-year hold.

Wieland says Mission Residential intends to lob other pre-emptive strikes for properties to rapidly build a portfolio. “The objective in all the deals that we have under contract is to get in there and go hard in very rapid fashion,” he says. The partners have set up acquisitions for $60 million of multifamily assets in the next 35 days, planning to lift the count to nearly 20 holdings in the coming year, according to Wieland. Besides Dallas/Fort Worth and Charlotte, the duo is eyeing properties in Austin, Raleigh, NC, Nashville, Albuquerque, Tucson and Phoenix.

Wieland says they can quickly tap $70 million of equity for the play. “But, we’re not going to start circling money until we have properties to put people into,” he stresses.

Cushman & Wakefield Inc.’s multi-housing team of Don Ostroff and Will Balthrope, senior directors, and Susie Kakos, associate director, were ready to put the Garland asset on the market for Craig Hall, owner of the Frisco-based Hall Financial Group, when Wieland and Finlay placed a price strong enough to halt marketing. “In the last 90 days, this was our fifth pre-emptive sale,” Ostroff says, “and we have three additional contracts in the title company that are also pre-emptive.” The market’s dynamics are such that one listing last week drew 80 confidentiality agreements in 24 hours and four offers in the first week.

Ostroff says sellers of better properties are raising asking prices in some scenarios and getting a higher percentage of the ask in other cases as more buyers push to place real estate allocations before the year ends. Many buyers are coming to the table with market analyses in hand, as was the case with Mission Residential, which has an in-house research team.

Wieland and Finlay secured a 10-year conduit loan with a 30-year amortization at a 5.25% fixed-rate interest with LaSalle Bank to close the deal with Hall. The funding was cleared with an 80% loan-to-value ratio.

Built in 1984, the 19-building Mission Creek has 104 one-bedroom apartments, 108 two bedroom units and 24 three-bedroom floor plans. The class B units average 832 sf; monthly rents average $624. Concessions are running two to four weeks on a one-year lease.

In recent years, Wieland and Finlay plied the affordable housing market. Wieland says the Mission Residential brand will be aimed at middle-market renters, whose next rung on the ladder is usually home ownership. “These are younger families who need a safe, clean place to live and a good value,” he says.

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