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FLORHAM PARK, NJ-The Kushner-to-AIG/Morgan apartment portfolio sale is officially a done deal. As reported by GlobeSt.com, the transaction involving 16,784 apartments in 86 complexes in four states went under contract in June, just several weeks after Kushner Cos. had put most of its Westminster Management multifamily portfolio on the block.

The largest concentration is in the South Jersey/Metro Philadelphia market, amounting to 25 communities and nearly 5,300 units. The rest are scattered around New Jersey, plus Pennsylvania, Delaware and New York. The sale price was not released, but multiple sources put the final number in the $1.9-billion range, including the assumption of $900 million of debt.

“This is one of the largest private-to-private multifamily transactions ever,” says Mitchell Morgan, founder, president and CEO of the King of Prussia, PA-based Morgan Properties, which teamed with AIG Global Real Estate Investment Corp. to buy what was marketed as Westminster Management. “Buying the properties was attractive because it was a natural fit with our current portfolio in terms of location and property types.”

“This record-breaking transaction underscores investors’ appetite for quality apartment houses, especially in New Jersey,” says Alan Hammer of the WolfBlock law firm, who teamed with Allen Popowitz to head the legal representation for Kushner. “It took Kushner 25 years to accumulate this many apartment units. New Jersey has never seen an acquisition of this magnitude.

“I have never seen a deal move so quickly,” Hammer says. “The contracts were signed over the course of a single weekend, and the transaction closed in 90 days. This is an incredible timetable considering the magnitude of this transaction.

“It was a critical component in Kushner Cos.’ strategy to shift its real estate focus from its traditional multifamily roots to larger asset investments, such as office properties in Manhattan,” Hammer says. As reported by GlobeSt.com, Kushner made its initial splash in the Manhattan market at the beginning of this year when it picked up the 1.6-million-sf 666 Fifth Ave. from Tishman Speyer Properties for nearly $1.8 billion, or about $1,200 per sf. Besides that, Kushner still owns another 6.5 million sf of commercial space, mostly in New Jersey, and ownership interests in some 6,500 residential units.

The total block of apartments put on the market earlier this year was 18,500. In addition to the 16,784 units just sold to the AIG/Morgan venture, Kushner had previously sold nearly 900 units to investment clients represented by the Kislak Co. for $42 million.

The acquisition runs Morgan Properties’ holdings to more than 31,000 units in 132 communities in 10 states. According to Morgan, the company has retained about 98% of the Westminster Management employees associated with the newly acquired properties.

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