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AURORA, CO-Granite Peak Partners of Santa Barbara has acquired two apartment complexes totaling 664 units for $42.1 million. The Santa Barbara firm’s new assets are the 304-unit Countryside Village at 15300 E. Evans Ave. and the 360-unit Stonebrook Apartments at 932 South Helena Way.

Granite Peak acquired the properties from ECD Co. through its Granite Peak Partners’ Opportunity Fund III, which raised the equity for the deals from its client base of high net worth investors and is now officially closed. Both Granite Peak and the seller were represented by Tom Wanberg with the Denver office of Grubb & Ellis.

Both of the apartment complexes are close to Downtown Denver and Fitzsimons, a 578-acre site currently undergoing a $4.3 billion renovation. The Fitzsimons project will feature an integrated life sciences community with patient care, education, science and bioscience research facilities.

Countryside Village is situated on more than 10 acres and comprises 205,600 rentable sf, while the Stonebrook Apartments complex sits on more than 18 acres, with 314,660 rentable sf. The property consists of four one-story buildings and 38 two-story buildings.

Bruce Savett, a founding principal of Granite Peak Partners who is in charge of acquisitions, says that the company plans to invest more than $8 million in capital improvements to the properties. The upgrades will be designed to improve the projects from their present class C-plus designation to class B status with rental rates that will reflect the upgrades.

Both of the properties that Granite Peak has acquired were constructed in the 1980s and have been under the same ownership and management for more than 18 years. Savett notes that rental occupancies in the metro Denver area are approaching 95%.

Savett expects a healthy Denver economy, which created almost 50,000 jobs in 2006, and the Fitzsimons project, only two miles from the apartment complexes, to create a strong demand for upscale rental housing. “Higher rents will mean significantly higher property values for investors,” he says. “At the end of the hold period, estimated at three years, the properties will be sold with final proceeds distributed to the fund’s limited partners.”

Granite Peak, which targets properties in the range of $4 million to $45 million primarily in the Western US, acquired more than $72 million in apartment properties last year. Noah Hochman, the company’s vice president for acquisitions, notes that the firm continues to look for additional opportunities in the Denver market.

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