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SAN RAMON, CA-Essex Property Trust, an apartment REIT from Palo Alto, has acquired the 250-unit Canyon Oaks Apartments here for $64.3 million. The seller was United Dominion Realty Trust. Curtis Gardner of Arroyo & Coates had the disposition assignment.

The property consists of 13 three-story buildings and 158 garages. Property amenities include a pool, fitness center, media room and picnic area with barbecue grills. All units have nine-foot ceilings, full size washer and dryers and large patios or balconies. Essex has not yet disclosed the current occupancy or rental rate.

Completed in 2005, the property sits within Windermere, a 2,300-acre master planned residential community, which fits Essex‘s strategy of buying up properties it believes are located in “highly desirable, supply constrained” West Coast markets. “The property is in proximity to several large job parks as well as major freeways and local shopping,” Essex president Keith Geuricke says. “We expect to see rising rents in the area as a direct result of an increase in jobs and population combined with relatively low single-family affordability.”

Essex currently has ownership interests in 133 apartment communities with a combined 27,637 units. In the Bay Area, where it owns approximately 3,315 units, Essex says the average rental rate on its “same-store” operating properties increased 10% in the first quarter of 2007 to $1,453 per month. In Contra Costa County, which includes San Ramon, the average rent for its 1,000 units there rose 6.9% during the first quarter to $1,428, according to SEC filings.The company also has 350 units in various stages of rehabilitation in the Bay Area. In the Bay Area, it is halfway through a repositioning of Regency Tower, a 178-unit community located in Oakland. The $4.5-million project includes a remodel of the leasing office, exterior common area improvements as well as interior unit renovations. Essex says it has already achieved increased rents of between 23% and 46% on the first units that have been rehabilitated.

In addition, it is $1.2-million into an $8.3-million repositioning of the 172-unit Treetops Apartments in Fremont. The project will include a remodel of the leasing center, business center and pool area, and exterior building renovations including new siding, roofing, and a new laundry facility and fitness center.

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