(To read more on the multifamily market, click here.)

DALLAS-Lion Gables Apartment Fund LP, now Uptown’s largest multifamily owner, has capitalized on inherited assets by selling a 422-unit State Thomas block to Rreef and the 290-unit State Thomas Ravello to Principal Financial Group. Uptown’s fast-paced sales of all product type have made it hard for local brokers to keep tabs on deal sizes, but ballpark estimates are placing the combined trades above the $90-million mark.

Chicago-based Rreef got the 93%-leased State Thomas Brownstones, CityView Flats and State Thomas Townhomes, spanning nearly seven full blocks on 13.25 acres, at the heart of the priciest close-in market in the city. “In our minds, this is one of the most desirable places to live for the 25 to 35 age group,” says Brad Gries, vice president in Chicago, who negotiated the purchase from a closed-end fund managed by the New York City-based ING Clarion Partners as it sheds assets from the takeover of Gables Residential Trust. In keeping with the Boca Raton, FL-based Gables’ restrictions, Rreef has renamed its purchase to Manchester State Thomas.

Gries tells GlobeSt.com that the all-cash deal closed as an intended 10-year hold or more. “It’s a core deal for us,” he says. With some rents at below-market rates, he says the door is open for some immediate upside as well as over the long haul. “It’s a stabilized long-term deal in the right location to perform long term,” he stresses.

According to the Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP summary, the State Thomas Brownstones and CityView Flats at 3010 State St. have 245 one- and two-bedroom units ranging from 1,051 sf to 1,457 sf, with monthly rents going from $1,504 to $1,815. The 177 townhouses range from 1,010 sf to 2,222 sf in one, two- and three-bedroom floor plans. Their monthly rents are $1,415 to $2,680. The complexes were developed in 2001-03.

The Des Moines-based Principal isn’t discussing its acquisition of the Ravello at 2610 Allen St. The 95%-leased, three-year-old asset has one-, two- and three-bedroom units, ranging from 708 sf to 2,699 sf. Rents are $1,032 to $2,933 per month.

The mid-rise properties came to market as a portfolio. HFF managing director William Miller says there were a handful of offers for the full lot although the decision to split it didn’t have any affect on the take-home pay for ING Clarion. In all, more than 30 offers came in for the offering, which went full circle in 3.5 months. The majority of would-be buyers were institutions and private equity from the US. “We’re extremely happy with how the process played out and the price,” Miller says. “Everyone performed very well.”

Not only did quality and location drive the prices, but “it was one of the first opportunities for buyers to own a significant amount of properties in that particular submarket,” explains Miller, who teamed with HFF associate director Roberto Casas to sell the prizes.

“Given construction costs and land prices today, it’s hard to replace these assets,” Casas adds. “There’s just not a lot of land left in Uptown and what’s left is going to go vertical.”

Local multifamily experts believe the Rreef purchase set a new record for mid-rise product in Uptown. The 102-unit Gables Pearl Street, now Topaz Townhomes, sold last month for roughly $167,000 per unit to Atlanta-based Choice Condominiums LLC. The price jumps considerably for high-rise product, but the 267-unit Ashton commanded nearly $386,000 per unit just a few weeks ago while last year’s market brought $309,000 per apartment for the 63-unit Travis at Knox.

“The Dallas properties sold by HFF are part of ING Clarion’s strategy of capitalizing on strong fundamentals in both the Dallas market and the multifamily sector nationally,” Rob Greer, senior director at ING Clarion, says in a press release. “Dallas, like other major US cities, is experiencing a significant population shift back to the urban core. The State Thomas neighborhood is among the highest quality infill urban areas in the city ideally positioned to take advantage of the Uptown District’s unparalleled amenity base.”

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