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BLACKWOOD, NJ-A joint venture group led by Empire Realty Investments has closed on the acquisition of the 980-unit garden apartment community at 1501 Little Gloucester Rd. in this South Jersey township. The final sale price of $51 million factors out to just more than $52,000 per unit.

The seller was Fountainview Village LP, a local partnership. With the change in ownership, the name of the community is having its name changed from Fountainview Village to Autumn Ridge Apartments. A capital improvement program is also on tap for the 25-year-old complex.

“For a variety of reasons, the complex has experienced a high vacancy rate over the years,” says Michael Pearlstein, president of the Philadelphia-based Empire Realty Investments. “But because of its phenomenal location, well-built construction and amenity package, we saw a significant opportunity to enhance the value of the property by investing in upgrades and management.”

The location is near I-295, the New Jersey Turnpike and the Atlantic City Expressway connecting that gaming mecca to Metro Philadelphia. And the amenity package includes, among other things, a fitness center, clubhouse, Olympic-sized swimming pool and other recreational features. Located on a 52-acre site, the four-story complex adds up to a total of approximately 800,000 sf of building space.

As reported by GlobeSt.com, the previous ownership had picked up a $41.4-million first mortgage on the complex just more than two years ago. Past troubles included a fire affecting some 48 units, which occurred during the closing process on that loan.

With its participation in the joint venture acquiring the property, Empire now has interests in a total of four million sf and 1,000 acres of residential, retail and office properties, mostly in Metro Philadelphia. The residential portion of that portfolio adds up to approximately 3,500 units. The other partners in the joint venture were not identified.

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