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PHOENIX-SunVest Communities LLC has launched its acquisition spree in the metro area by spending $71.5 million on two multifamily properties in separate off-market transactions. Both complexes will be converted to condos.

The Hallandale, FL-based investment group paid $39 million, or $118,182 per unit, for the 330-unit Joshua Tree Apartments at 11545 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd. and $32.5 million, or $143,000 per unit, for the 228-unit Mountain Canyon Apartments at 3236 E. Chandler Blvd. in Phoenix. The seller is Alliance Residential Management of Houston.

Mountain Canyon’s conversion will begin in first quarter 2006. Joshua Tree’s condo sales will begin in late spring.

Brad Goff, a principal with locally based Apartment Realty Advisors LLLP, tells GlobeSt.com that, in both transactions, the seller hadn’t started to formally market the properties when SunVest entered the region in search of quality multifamily acquisitions for condo conversion. “Basically it was a matter of putting the right guy with the right group,” says Goff, who represented the buyer and seller in both sales.

“SunVest is bullish on Phoenix. They’re making a big push in this market and are looking at more properties for purchase,” Gary Linhart, a principal with locally based ViaWest Properties LLC, a local affiliate of SunVest, tells GlobeSt.com.

Linhart says “SunVest’s typical strategy, as much as possible, is to be an ‘as-is’ player and to leave the units alone. We let the buyers do what they want with them.”

The per-unit prices are still being finalized, but Linhart estimates it will average $200 per sf. Mountain Canyon Apartments, built in 1996, has 76 one-bedroom units, ranging from 726 sf to 859 sf; 128 two-bedroom apartments, 954 sf to 1,272 sf; and 24 three-bedroom designs with 1,409 sf. Rents run from $727 to $1,350 per month. Occupancy is 98%.

The 97%-leased Joshua Tree, built in 1988, has 166 one-bedroom units with 650 sf to 710 sf and 164 two-bedroom apartments, ranging from 868 sf to 942 sf. Monthly rents range from $660 to $845.

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