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PHILADELPHIA-Philadelphia-based BPG Properties Ltd. has closed on its previously announced acquisition of Boston Capital Real Estate Investment Trust–a $260 million, or $13.30 per share, transaction that is topped in the company’s history only by the $314 million, 22 apartment portfolio the firm acquired in eastern Pennsylvania last January.

With the BCRE transaction, BPG added 11 multifamily properties–totaling 3,098 units–located in Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City, Dallas and Jacksonville, FL. The strong exposure to these Western submarkets, in fact, was one of the drivers behind the deal, Art Pasquarella, EVP and COO, tells GlobeSt.com. “We had been in those areas as investors in the early 1990s and then sold them. Especially for multifamily, the region is very strong with high occupancy and growth rates.”

This growth story is important to shareholders already leery of anything real estate-related, Fred Ruffy, an analyst with the investor education firm Optionetics, tells GlobeSt.com. “Although REITs have not performed well recently, with the Dow Jones REIT Fund (IYR) down 32.3% over the past year, the BCRE acquisition reflects the fact that some investors are finding value in the marketplace. The housing slump continues, but opportunities still exist in other areas, such as apartment communities” in certain regions.

The BCRE portfolio is 93% occupied. BPG has budgeted $15.5 million, or $5,000 per unit, in capital improvements, Pasquarella reports. The company plans to increase the occupancy rate as it makes upgrades–putting in place new kitchen and baths in some properties and adding new roofs and balconies in others–as well as dispense with rent discounts and other incentives.

The communities will be managed by Madison Apartment Group LP, BPG’s multifamily operating arm. The purchase was made by BPG Investment Partnership VIII & Viiia LP, a fully discretionary private equity fund with total equity commitments of $850 million. Wachovia Securities acted as the financial advisor to BCRE, while Goodwin Proctor LLP provided legal advice. Pepper Hamilton LLP acted as legal counsel to BPG.

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