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ATLANTA-Post Properties Inc. may have pulled off the bargain land purchase of the year to date with its $15-million acquisition of a prime nine-acre tract behind the 900,000-sf Phipps Plaza shopping center in Buckhead. The developer plans to break ground next year on a two-phased, 550-condo venture at Lenox Road and Phipps Boulevard.

Post paid locally based Pope & Land Enterprises Inc. $1.66 million per acre, or about $38.26 per sf, for the land at Lenox Road and Phipps Boulevard, a location that other apartment developers and condo converters haven’t yet penetrated. Prime developable land in Buckhead has gone for $2 million to $3 million per acre over the last 18 months, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. Pope & Land had previously planned to develop two office buildings totaling about one million sf and a 400-room hotel on the site.

Post CEO David Stockert told shareholders in an Aug. 2 conference call the first phase will consist of 160 rental condos and 160 for-sale condos in a 15-story to 20-story tower. The second 230-unit phase construction date will depend on first-phase sales activity, Stockert said. Area construction industry sources tell GlobeSt.com the condos will probably be built at a hard construction cost of at least $100,000 per unit or a total $55 million.

Post entered the condominium conversion market in February with a total 261 apartment units in Tampa, FL and Dallas, as GlobeSt.com previously reported. Those condo homes, sized from 662 sf to 2,500 sf, are priced from the high $100s to $525,000-plus.

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