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COLUMBUS-Locally based Crawford Communities has put 11 of its apartment communities up for sale, more than 3,000 units, in a portfolio it values at $196.5 million. The properties are all centered in Columbus or the close-in suburbs, and have a combined net operating income, for the 3.1 million rentable sf, of about $12.8 million, according to a spokesman for the company.

The portfolio is about 95% occupied, with an average rent of $665 per unit. About 1,650 of the units have been developed since 2000, the spokesman tells GlobeSt.com. “The company is diversifying,” he says. “This is not their entire Columbus portfolio, they still own a fair amount in the city. They’ve been in business more than 10 years, and they’ve amassed a good amount of space, and now they’re looking to get into other markets, the Southeast, primarily. They want to recapitalize these deals and get into new markets.”

He says the company has already sent out packages to 70 interested buyers. The company has no interest in splitting up the portfolio, the spokesman says.

The Columbus apartment market has bounced back tremendously in the past year and a half, he says. “We’re now starting to see the onset of rent growth for the first time in five years,” he says. “You’ve got the shakeout of the sub-prime market, with folks not able to obtain mortgages, they’re now back in the rental market. Also, there’s typically more velocity here than with the other Midwest markets like Detroit or Cleveland, where 90% of the product is owned by family entities. Columbus is more an entrepreneurial market.”

The Crawford portfolio includes the:

•252-unit Alkire Glen in Columbus, built in 2000•250-unit College Park in Columbus, built in 2000•384-unit Creekside at Taylor Square in Reynoldsburg, phase one and phase two, built in 2000•252-unit Gateway Lakes in Grove City, built in 2000•440-unit Mayfair Village in Columbus, built in 1950•112-unit Sharon Glen in Columbus, built in 1996•404-unit Steeplechase Village in Columbus, built in 1963•272-unit Templeton Crossing in Columbus, built in 2001•128-unit Troy Farms in Delaware, built in 2006•528-unit Worthington Meadows in Worthington, built in 1986

The company says the combined current mortgage debt balance is $134 million. The current debt per unit is at $44,359, the spokesman says. “The overall interest rate on the loans is 5.6%,” he says.

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