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PHOENIX-Mid-America Apartment Communities Inc. has broken into the Greater Phoenix market with a double buy from Fairfield Residential Inc. The 480 metro apartments and a 328-unit one-off deal in Houston have pulled $83 million from the till.

The San Diego-based Fairfield sold a pair of abutting properties in North Phoenix that are still in lease-up: Talus Ranch at 2605 W. Dove Valley Rd. and Sansol at Sonoran Foothills at 32615 N. Valley Parkway. The Atlanta-based Trammell Crow Residential Inc. handed over the Reserve at Woodwinds Lake at 14555 Philippine St. in Houston.

Tim Argo, director of financial planning for Memphis-headquartered Mid-America, tells GlobeSt.com that Phoenix properties most likely will be wed into one after they are stabilized. At closing, the 20 apartment buildings were half filled–one-, two- and three-bedroom units averaging 911 sf. Monthly rents average $1,000.

For the interim, Mid-America plans to run the Phoenix properties from the Dallas office. Argo predicts the properties will be stabilized by early summer 2007. The Phoenix properties were bought with cash on hand. After stabilization, Argo says Mid-America will tap its credit facility for a special loan.

“We weren’t the highest bidder,” Argo says, “but the main reason we were chosen was that closed it quickly.” He says the deal on the table was a 20-day due diligence and 10-day close for a 25-acre, contiguous footprint near Interstate 17 and Loop 101.

The Houston asset, which required a $14.6-million assumption, “will soon be underwritten,” Argo says. “The loan with the high interest rate helped to eliminate the competition.” The interest is a 7.7% fixed rate. He says Mid-America evaluated defeasance and prepayment, but “we decided holding to maturity was going to be a better deal for us.” He says the loan matures in June 2015.

The 94%-leased Reserve at Woodwind Lakes, built in 1999, has 14 buildings on 21.5 acres in northwest Houston. Units average 964 sf; rents average $900 per month.

Phoenix-based Hendricks & Partners’ senior brokers Mark Forrester and Bob Bruno marketed the Fairfield duet. CB Richard Ellis executive vice president Craig LaFollette, senior vice presidents Todd Marix and Todd Stewart and senior associate Tre Banks sold the Reserve. Mid-America had Memphis Commercial Group as its broker.

The REIT’s been eyeing the Phoenix market for a year. Argo says Mid-America’s not holding any more contracts, but the search definitely is continuing as the REIT forges ahead on a “global strategy to keep upgrading the age and quality of our assets.”

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