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

BIRMINGHAM, AL-Culminating a $155-million yearend deal, Collins Group LLC has folded in another 2,284 apartments to its now $500-million portfolio. The Brooklyn, NY investment group, with New Jersey-based Lightstone Group as a backer, has acquired the three-property portfolio from Colonial Properties Trust.

The acquired assets in Birmingham are the 1,080-unit Colonial Grand at Galleria at 2135 Centennial Dr. and a sister property, 468-unit Colonial Grand at Riverchase at 1000 Riverchase Trail and 200 River Haven Circle. In Huntsville, the deal included the 768-unit Colonial Village at Research Park at 6200 Rime Village Dr. NW. GE Capital provided acquisition financing.

Collins is ending the year with two record-breaking sales in the state. Earlier this year, it closed the largest single multifamily deal in Alabama, spending $138 million for a 2,331-unit portfolio from Landmark Properties Trust. Collins started buying properties in Alabama in 2001; it’s now the state’s largest multifamily property owner by its calculations.

Colonial, on the other hand, has been shuffling its portfolio, selling all retail to focus on multifamily. And, it’s building a $1.5-billion warchest.

The class A properties from locally based Colonial Properties are “real trophy assets in a growing market,” Jay Herman, Collins’ vice president of acquisitions, says in this morning’s press release. Due to the holiday, company execs were unavailable for an interview.

Herman, though, did say that each complex is at least 95% leased. Location, quality and amenities place them “at the top of their class,” he adds.

Ari Parnes, Collins’ managing director, credits Engel Realty’s Hubert Goings Jr. and William Butler with facilitating the deal. He says the property trio already is a high-performing package in submarkets with above-average dynamics. “We believe that we can make these more profitable assets by streamlining and optimizing processes and management,” he adds.

As the year draws to a close, Collins has one more closing in the pipeline. In the release, Parnes says a closing is set “before the end of the month” on a $60-million deal with Wilkinson Properties of Newport, DE for 1,166 apartments in Knoxville. The Collins’ buying spree includes a recent pickup in Atlanta of a 734-unit complex.

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