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CARROLLTON, TX-After waiting nearly six months to close the deal, Norfolk-based Harbor Group International LLC has acquired a 528-unit prize in North Dallas that was tied to a complex loan assumption. Internet research shows the buyer has assumed a $46.5-million loan to make the close.

“It’s been a fairly dragged out process,” says T. Richard Litton Jr., president of Harbor Group. The new owner of the Bella Vida at Coyote Ridge Apartments at 4253 Hunt Dr. plans to spend another $1,500 per unit on interior and exterior renovations. The gated asset was 94% leased at sale time.

The Bella Vida, highly pursued when it was on the market, has one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom units ranging from 795 sf to 2,051 sf or an average of 1,322 sf. Rents average $1.12 per sf. Litton says the “renters by choice” asset, situated on 35.5 acres, will stay as rental due to its size and the condo market in general although the 15 floor plans with attached garages and the location have the necessary built-in packaging for a conversion.

“This deal just stands on its own as a rental property,” Litton tells GlobeSt.com. “What we are fundamentally betting on is a continuing market improvement in the market and our ability to grow rents.” He says the anticipated hold is four years.

Virtu Investments LLC of Carlsbad, CA bought Bella Vida in May 2005 along with the 548-unit Mansions at Ridgeview Country Club at 9601 Custer Rd. in Plano in a $109.7-million deal with the developer, Western Rim Investment Advisors Inc. of Dallas. Bella Vida was ticketed for sale, but not the Mansions at Ridgeview, according to Holliday Fenoglio Fowler LP director Roberto Casas, who teamed with managing director Bill Miller and associate Aaron Sloan to market the seven-year-old prize.

As GlobeSt.com reported in 2005, Atlanta-based Column Financial Inc. is holding a conduit loan with a 5.37% fixed rate with interest-only payments through May 2010. The note matures in June 2015. At the time, the seller had said Coyote Ridge accounted for $57 million of the loan and required a mezz piece.

“We knew it was going to be a complex transaction. We needed to pick the right guys to get it done,” Casas explains, “and someone with experience in getting such a complex transaction executed.” He says Virtu brought the asset to market because it had “upside for the buyer” in the deal.

The Bella Vida bumps Harbor’s holdings in the region to 1,775 units in four complexes, all of which are leased and managed in-house. Its amenities package aptly reflects its class A-plus status: a 14,000-sf clubhouse, lighted tennis court, sand volleyball court, indoor and outdoor basketball court, billiards room, theater, sauna and full-time on-site concierge. The 51-building complex overlooks Coyote Ridge Golf Club and sits close to a handful of major freeways and 15 minutes northeast of Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

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