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MESA, AZ-In a strategic move to diversify his holdings, Chicago-based condo converter and developer Tony Lamonia has acquired his first income-for-rent property in the metro. Lamonia, who heads Oculus Development LLC, has paid $11.1 million for the 222-unit Stonegate Apartments.

“With the slowing condo market, they’ve diversified into rental properties,” explains Brad Goff, principal with Apartment Realty Advisors’ Phoenix office. Goff represented the seller of 825 S. Alma School Rd., Orion Residential LLC of Phoenix.

“I told him it wasn’t a condo conversion, but he told me they were trying to do an income deal rather than a conversion,” Goff tells GlobeSt.com about Lamonia’s initial inquiry. Oculus broke into the Phoenix market two years ago with its acquisition of the 268-unit Signature at Scottsdale Horizon at 15095 N. Thompson Peak Parkway, which was converted into condominiums.

These days, Oculus is looking for affordable rental properties that are in decent shape. Before selling Stonegate, Orion had invested approximately $12,000 per unit to upgrade the interiors. Orion acquired Stonegate in 2005 from United Dominion Realty Trust Inc. as part of a $38 million three-property portfolio. The other two portfolio properties, the 320-unit Northpark Village at 17625 N. 7th St. and 202-unit Woodland Park at 10201 N. 33rd Ave. have been sold within the past three months.

Built in 1984, the 92%-occupied Stonegate Apartments has a mix of studio apartments and one- and two-bedroom units, ranging from 424 sf to 885 sf. Units rent for $477 to $731 per month.

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