GLENDALE, CO-The New York City-based Sentinel Real Estate Corp. paid $78million to the Houston-based Hanover Co. for the 24-story, 288-unit 4550Cherry Creek, a luxury apartment building in this little city near the Cherry Creek shopping district. The sales price equates to $270,833 per unit, more than double the previous record set in 2003 of $131,863 per unit for a resort-style apartment community in Lowry. The per sf price of $239.60 also shatters the previous record of $131,863 per unit.

“Arguably, one could make the case this is the nicest apartment building in the state,” says Steve Rahe, an apartment broker with CB Richard Ellis, who handled the deal with CBRE broker Craig LaFollette of Houston. “The quality of the construction, the finishes, the views, the lobby, the beautiful amenities–everything is absolutely first class.”

The building soars 279 feet into the air, has Art Deco-inspired accents onthe exterior, and is minutes from the Cherry Creek shopping area. Cary Bruteig, principal of Apartment Appraisers & Consultants, says that Rahe isn’t exaggerating.

He says monthly rents range from $1,319 to $5,454 for two-story,townhome-style penthouse units. It’s about 80% leased, he says. “This has many of the features you see in the high-end condos and lofts you see in Downtown,” Bruteig says. “In fact, most people thought a condo converter would buy it. But my understanding is Sentinel wants to keep operating it as an apartment.”

John Nash, president of Hanover, says it has been rewarding to see response from consumers. But, he adds, he’s “a little sad” to sell it, although he calls it a wonderful investment for the buyer. He says the building, which Hanover officially opened in February 2004, “represents a special style of real estate that showcases precision, thoughtfulness and quality in construction, design and finish that is not evident in an increasingly mass market world.”

Hanover, however, will keep a presence in Denver. It currently is building the 290-unit Boulevard, an upscale mid-rise apartment building at Speer Boulevard and 9th Avenue, on the former Racine’s restaurant site in the Golden Triangle neighborhood.

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