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LAS VEGAS-Atherton-Newport Investments of Irvine, CA is betting on the Las Vegas apartment market. The Irvine, CA-based value-add residential investor has acquired 1,100 units here in the past several months at a cost of $76 million and has two additional properties under contract that will take that total over 1,500 units.

The firm plans to rehabilitate and reposition the underperforming properties in an effort to deliver attractive returns to investors. Ashish Khatana, who founded the company with Roger Fiola in 2001, tells GlobeSt.com that some of the properties will remain apartment communities, some will be converted to condominiums and others eventually will be torn own and replaced by much larger developments.

The five properties already acquired include St. Charleston and Torrey Pines, two Las Vegas properties totaling 516-units that are operated as one; Villas at Desert Pointe, a 346-unit property also located in Las Vegas; Sunset Hills, a 120-unit property in the neighboring city of Henderson; and the Village of Santa de la Paz, another 120-unit property located in Henderson.

Khatana says Sunset Hills will eventually be converted to condominiums because the company successfully had a condo map approved by the City of Henderson last month. “We haven’t decided whether we will do it ourselves or sell to a converter,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “We’ll likely make a decision this fall.”

The other Henderson property, the Village of Santa de la Paz, will be rehabilitated and repositioned with the hope of raising occupancy and rates, but may still eventually be converted if a condo map can be had. “It’s becoming more and more difficult to do conversions because the city can see what’s happening and wants to hang on to its rental stock,” he says. “So we will proceed with the rehab and new management and then assess the political environment.”

St. Charleston and Torrey Pines, the two Las Vegas apartment complexes that are run as one, will remain apartments. They will be renovated, repositioned and eventually be sold to more of a turn-key buyer, Khatana says. The other, the 346-unit Villas at Desert Pointe, is located fairly close to the Strip and may eventually be razed in favor of a much larger development. Khatana says he has submitted plans to the county to up-zone the nine-acre property for a much larger mixed-use project with more than 1,000 housing units.

One of the properties under contract is Angle Park, a 248-unit apartment complex on the border separating Las Vegas and Summerlin that likely will remain an apartment community. The other property under contract is a “300-plus unit apartment community” that Khatana doesn’t want to get to specific about just yet because its part of a larger assemblage he’s trying to put together for a much larger mixed-use redevelopment.

Khatana says there are multiple reasons for investing in the Las Vegas apartment market. “The greater market is experiencing robust population and job growth, declining apartment supply resulting from condominium conversions and land premiums that are limiting new apartment development,” he says. “These factors provide an ideal investment opportunity.”

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