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PASADENA, CA-Nevis Homes LLC of Arcadia has paid nearly $21.5 million for a 98-unit luxury apartment complex called the Meridian and plans to convert the property to condominiums, according to the Costa Mesa office of Chicago-based Moran & Co., which brokered the sale. Nevis acquired the complex from Los Angeles-based R.W. Selby & Co., with Mary Ann King and Scott Davis of Moran & Co. in Costa Mesa brokering the deal.

Dan Fried, VP of acquisitions and dispositions for R.W. Selby, says the complex, which is at 64 N. Mar Vista Ave., generated significant interest from prospective buyers, including both apartment owners and condo converters. Reasons for the strong interest included the lack of developable sites in the area and a complicated entitlements process that have restricted the supply of new residential properties in the city, Fried says. The same conditions that prevail in Pasadena and that made Meridian attractive for a condo conversion also exist in much of the rest of Southern California, where buyers have been paying top dollar for apartment complexes for several years in condo conversion projects.

Jeff Lee, CEO of Nevis Homes, says that the continued strong demand for for-sale housing, along with low interest rates, continues to fuel the home-buying market and to encourage renters to opt for ownership. He calls the Meridian “an attractive, entry-level purchase into the for-sale housing market.” Lee also mentions Pasadena’s reputation as a highly desirable residential address, along with the area’s steady employment growth and improved accessibility from the new Metro Rail Gold Line, which he says will continue to attract new residents to the area.

Another factor contributing to the city’s growth is the expansion of the retail economy, according to Davis. He points out that the Meridian’s location is on Mar Vista Avenue between Walnut Street and Colorado Boulevard, only a block off Colorado Boulevard and three blocks from high-end shopping and dining along Lake Avenue. Paseo Colorado, a new 557,000-sf mixed-use, open-air village with major retailers, boutiques and restaurants, is also nearby.

Lee says that although the previous owner completed cosmetic upgrades to the Meridian that were well executed for a high-end apartment complex, the new ownership “will significantly improve the property from its current level.” Completed in 1988, the Meridian is a three-story complex that surrounds a courtyard with a pool and spa, mature landscaping and tile walkways. The community’s floor plans include 41 lofts, and 57 one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 650 sf to 1,100 sf.

R.W. Selby & Co. is a privately held real estate investment, development and management firm that was established in 1975. It owns and operates 30 apartment properties comprising nearly 3,000 units throughout Southern California. Nevis Homes LLC is a private company specializing in multifamily communities.

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