SPRINGFIELD, MA-A mill complex converted to multifamily here has been sold for $11.2 million. Hearn Properties Inc. acquired the 266-unit Morgan Square Apartments, which also comes with 13 commercial spaces, from John M. Corcoran and Co. of Braintree.

“With the purchase of Morgan Square, Hearn Properties is now one of the largest operators of market-rate apartments in Springfield,” says Apartment Realty Advisors SVP Terence Scott, whose New England office negotiated the sale. Hearn had previously acquired the Armoury Commons, a 14-building, 262-unit complex in Springfield’s historic district.

Company founder William Hearn tells GlobeSt.com that economy of scale is one reason his firm pursued the latest investment. “We saw it as a perfect opportunity to integrate this asset with our existing operations there,” says Hearn, whose Boston-based firm concentrates on mid-level multifamily, both in terms of product type and location. The mix allows a measure of upside and the ability to improve the properties over time, he explains, although Hearn stresses that the four-building Morgan Square complex has been well-maintained by the sellers.

“They are a very good company,” Hearn says of Corcoran. As with Corcoran, Hearn Properties takes a long-term, value-added approach to its real estate, he says. The company also owns properties in Boston, Lynn and West Warwick, RI.

Although Springfield has had its share of difficulties in recent years, the community is on the mend, says Hearn, as evidenced by a series of infrastructure upgrades such as new sidewalks and lighting being installed near the Morgan Square apartments. “It’s very vibrant now,” concurs Oleg Uritsky, in-house counsel and director of acquisitions for Hearn Properties. Morgan Square also benefits from being in a stabilized area of the city, says Hearn, with the complex situated in the heart of Downtown. Hearn’s experience in development should help repositioning the 13 commercial spaces at Morgan Square and boosting apartment occupancy rates, says Scott.

Besides Corcoran’s stewardship, Morgan Square benefited from $3 million of tax credits to assist in its conversion to a mixed-use development. Originally a manufacturing facility, the four buildings were repositioned for multifamily beginning in the 1980s.

Brick-and-beam construction enhances the residential ambiance, according to ARA, while the property has additional character from its blend of lofts and flat-style units. There are 13 studios, 214 one-bedroom units and 39 two-bedroom units. Morgan Square features a community room, fitness center and park with benches. Entrances are at 27 Lyme St., 1607 Main St. and 15 and 24 Taylor St.

Based in Burlington, the New England office of ARA helped the national multi-family brokerage firm negotiate $8.4 billion in real estate transactions in 2006, and has had another active campaign to date in 2007. Recent sales brokered by the local team include Tyrone Gardens in Randolph and a $43 million multi-building sale in Lawrence. In the Morgan Square deal, Scott was joined by principal Richard Robinson and Travis D’Amato in representing the seller and procuring the buyer.

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