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PHOENIX-Close to a year after being introduced to the market, the 504-unit Villas at Camelback Crossing has been acquired by Seattle-based S-J Management LLC for $45.5 million.

According to Bret Zinn, the reason for the lengthy process was because the property, located at 5150 N. 99th Ave., was slated for sale to a condominium converter. “That escrow lasted six months. Then, the guy didn’t come through,” says Zinn, formerly with Colliers International Inc.’s Phoenix office, where he worked with Colliers’ colleague Jerry Tenge on the transaction. The duo represented the buyer and the local seller, Andy Welch, principal of American West Communities.

Zinn, who is now vice president for Apartment Realty Advisors’ Phoenix office, tells GlobeSt.com that, following the fallout of the first effort, S-J Management’s David Sauter was contacted about the possibility of purchasing the property and was enthusiastic about it. “We closed with Sauter within about 60 to 75 days,” Zinn adds.

Sauter does not plan to convert the property into condominiums. “He’s planning to clean it up a little, turn it around and keep it as an apartment deal,” Zinn says, adding the new owner could invest anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000 per unit into upgrades. “His intent is to get the occupancy up.”

Zinn explains that the occupancy fell to 80% in anticipation of the conversion to condos. “Unfortunately, when the previous buyer fell out of escrow, that left a good number of units empty,” he says.

Situated on 23.12 acres, the complex was built in two phases in 2002 and 2004. It contains 120 one-bedroom units, 264 two-bedroom apartments and 120 three-bedroom floor plans. Units range from 710 sf to 1,152 sf; rents run from $775 to $1,025 per month. The Villas sale represents Welch’s last holding in the Phoenix area. He recently sold the 228-unit Augusta Ranch in Mesa for $25 million.

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