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FORT MYERS, FL-An affiliate of BF Group paid $30.7 million, or $98,397 a unit, for the Grand at Gateway, a 312-unit rental complex on 29 acres in the Gateway County Club community. This is the Miami-based company’s third multifamily acquisition in Southwest Florida this year alone, and the Grand, like the others, is headed for condo conversion.

The seller is CMS Grand Apartments LP, a partnership led by Chicago-based Comprehensive Management Services. “The property was not actively on the market,” Brad Capas, senior director in the Fort Lauderdale office of Cushman & Wakefield, tells GlobeSt.com. Capas shared brokerage responsibilities for the sale with Rosendo Caveiro in C&W’s Miami office, and Byron Moger, senior director in the Tampa office, who is responsible for C&W multifamily activities along Florida’s west coast.

“The Naples/Fort Myers market has become increasingly desirable for condominium conversions,” Moger says. “Many converters initially turned to this market because of the intense competition they encountered trying to acquire in markets such as South Florida. As a result, a number of conversions have been completed successfully, proving the viability of Southwest Florida conversions, which in turn has stimulated even more conversion demand.”

The Grand was constructed in 1998, and Capas says it is about 97% occupied. Gated, with extensive lake and golf course frontage, it consists of 13 three-story buildings containing 144 one-bedroom, 121 two-bedroom, and 47 three-bedroom units. According to published reports rental rates for a one-bedroom unit range from $685 to $805 a month, and a three-bedroom unit rents for up to $1,115 a month.

Among the community amenities are a pool and sundeck, clubhouse, indoor theater, business center, indoor basketball court and fitness center. Capas says the Grand is “a perfect fit for BF Group,” noting that its “desirable floor plans and broad array of community amenities make it an ideal candidate for condo conversion. Pure rental housing is becoming very scarce,” he adds.

This March, BF acquired the 300-unit Colony Place Apartments here for $101,333 a unit. In late April, it bought the 384-unit Bridlewood at Highwoods Preserve in the New Tampa submarket for $109,375 a unit. And in late October 2004, it acquired Savoy on Palmer Ranch in Sarasota for 93,113 a unit.

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