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SARASOTA, FL-JBM Realty Advisors of Naples is closing out 2004 with record transactional volume of $670 million, including two new Central Florida sales. JBM brokered the $17-million sale of Huntington Place here and Brookwood apartments in Bradenton.

Jackson Square Properties of San Francisco paid Chicago-based Jupiter Realty Corp. $17 million, or $67,460 per unit, for the 17-year-old, 252-unit, class B garden style Huntington Place located on a 21.7-acre site here. The property has 19 one-story and two-story wood-frame buildings totaling 211,960 sf of net rentable area. The price equates to $80.90 per sf.

In acquiring the asset, Jackson Square Properties assumed existing weekly low-floater type bond financing with a principal balance of $12.7 million. The average living area in the apartments is 847 sf. The property contains 507 surface parking space for an overall parking ratio of two spaces per unit.

In Bradenton, about 10 miles north of Sarasota, CMK Development of Chicago paid Landmark Residential of Jupiter $7.6 million, or $43,678 per sf, for Brookwood, a 30-year-old, 174-unit garden apartment complex comprising 29 two-story concrete block buildings on an 11.2-acre site. On a sf-basis, the 132,220-sf property sold for $57.48.

The property recently underwent a $375,000 renovation program that included structural improvements and exterior-interior repairs. “Today’s low interest rate environment and the strength of the housing market in the Bradenton area make Brookwood an affordable condo-conversion opportunity due to higher than average surrounding household income,” says Jamie May, chairman and CEO of JBM Realty Advisors. JBM directors Eric Ammon Sr. and Carlos Berner worked with May on both transactions.

May doesn’t expect the condo conversion train to slow down soon. “The condo craze will certainly continue, more than likely, through the next 12 to 18 months, or until interest rates increase to 8%,” May tells GlobeSt.com. “The main driving factor is a combination of interest rates and the more than average household income surrounding these conversions.”

He says the southwest Florida coast “lacks affordable housing within city limits, due to builders’ and developers’ costs of land and their willingness to develop lower end housing, due to soaring impact fees and time constraints of the [local] permitting process.”

May says the condo conversions “also provide an amenity packages that certainly challenge new condominiums, with such amenities as resort style swimming pools, tennis courts, state-of-the-art fitness facilities, concierge service, business centers and use of clubhouse facilities.”

The JBM chairman thinks the size of the current conversion market in the state can’t be accurately gauged. “Florida in itself is a condo conversion market,” May tells GlobeSt.com. “Most all coastal markets, including Orlando, are all conversion markets. Every deal we evaluate for a prospective seller has both an evaluation as a rental project and as a condo conversion. If the surrounding household can support a conversion, plus improvements with a profit margin to the converter north of 17%, we will go to market as a conversion.”

May feels there are still enough class B and class C multifamily properties in the market for condo converters to snap up and reconfigure into profitable condominium communities, at least for the next six to 12 months.

“B and C conversions are gaining momentum due to pricing and location of the asset, although these deals consume more money, time and effort” than class A properties, the JBM chief says. “These types of conversions are more likely to be sold to private locals rather than to private national-type converters.” He adds, Brookwood apartments is “a perfect example of a C+ type conversion.”

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