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BOCA RATON, FL-The affluent neighborhoods of Altanta’s Buckhead and River Oaks in Houston have risen to the top of “eight key markets” locally based Gables Residential identified for future investment. It acquired the 176-unit Northmoor apartments on 11.5 acres in Buckhead and the 112-unit Memorial Hills property on 2.7 acres in River Oaks with plans to expand both. As is customary with Gables, the price tags were undisclosed.

“We expect to operate the existing apartments for some period of time and ultimately redevelop approximately 850 apartment homes in total,” CEO David Fitch says in a statement. During a first-quarter conference call early this month, Fitch said the company’s strategy to reposition assets in “established premium neighborhoods [EPNs]” was “ essentially complete.” Last year it disposed of “lesser quality assets,” he said, primarily at hefty profits from condo converters, helping to equip the company with an $800-million acquisition and development pipeline devoted to increasing its stake in EPNs.

Fitch calls the Buckhead and River Oaks sites “excellent locations within our targeted EPN zones.” As for the plans to operate and later expand them, he says, “this is an efficient means to control land positions and generate cash flow as we continue to grow in our EPN zones.”

Gables defines EPN zones as “areas with high per-sf prices for single-family homes.” Among the market characteristics are high job growth, resiliency to national economic downturns and barriers to entry.

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