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HIGHLANDS RANCH, CO-TIAA-CREF paid a record $176 million to New York City-based Wellsford Real Properties Inc. in this master-planned community in Douglas County. Wellsford sold three residential rental phases in the five-phase, 1,707-unit multifamily community.

The three operating residential rental phases have 1,184 units. The sale price equates to about $150,000 per unit, which is a record in the Denver area for a suburban, garden-style property, says Doug Andrews, who handled the deal with fellow Apartment Realty Advisors owner Jeff Hawks.

Wellsford, which trades under the symbol WRP, in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing, says it expects to report a net gain of approximately $51 million on the transaction after costs and expenses, minority interest share and state income taxes. WRP says it does not expect significant federal income taxes as a result of existing tax losses available to WRP.

As a result of the sale’s completion, WRP’s board of directors declared an initial liquidating distribution of $14 per share payable Dec. 14 to stockholders of record on Dec. 2, 2005.

WRP’s principal assets now consist of condominium and single-family home projects in Denver, East Lyme, CT and Claverack, NY, as well as an approximate 22% interest in Reis Inc., a real estate information and data company.

Hawks, of Apartment Realty Advisors, says Palomino Park is “an asset that will never be duplicated in Denver again.” Andrews tells GlobeSt.com that TIAA-CREF, “buys the best and the highest quality properties throughout the country. This obviously, is one of those assets.” Despite being based in New York City, TIAA-CREF, one of the largest financial organizations in the country, has a huge presence in Denver, employing about 1,300 people.

Hawks tells GlobeSt.com that Palomino Park is impossible to compare to any other project because of its size, quality, location and amenities. Nothing else is really comparable to it. The second largest deal in the metro area is a $78-million sale to Sentinel Real Estate Corp. for the 288-unit 4550 Cherry Creek property in Glendale, sold by the Houston-based Hanover Co. That deal was handled by Steve Rahe of CB Richard Ellis. Apartment Realty Advisors has sold several other communities for around $75 million, Hawks tells GlobeSt.com.

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