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CHICAGO-Laramar Group, based here, is acquiring a 664-unit multifamily portfolio with properties in Houston and Alexandria, VA. The total sales price is approximately $59 million, sources say. The seller is a New York City-based company.

Coldwell Banker Commercial–Ideal Realty Group brokered the sale. Both properties are garden-style apartment communities that are under-managed, under-utilized and under-rented in supply-constrained locations, says Jeff Elowe, president of Laramar. “They represented a very strong value-add opportunity for us, which is our strategy, in locations that we felt were infill,” he says. “They had very strong population and job growth dynamics.”Memorial Club is a 356-unit property constructed in 1969 at 904 Westcott St. in Houston. The property is at the intersection of Westcott Street and Washington, two main streets in the area, and is also within a mile from Interstate 10. The property has one-and two-bedroom apartments with an average unit size of 702 sf. The property is 90% occupied and is “vastly under-rented,” Elowe says. The complex has two pools, a clubhouse, covered parking spaces and a fitness room. Laramar plans to install new flooring, countertops and lighting in the units in addition to replacing some of the roofs and balconies. Other improvements will be increasing the amount of property management and on-site leasing staff, he says. The cost for improvements on both properties is in the multimillion-dollar range, but Elowe declined to give an estimate.

Hampton Court Apartments is a 308-unit property constructed in 1965 at 441 N. Armistead St. in Alexandria. The property is located on a 10-acre site in the Greater Washington, DC metropolitan area near Interstates 395 and 495. The complex is a mixture of one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments with an average unit size of 944 sf. The property is “80% occupied in a 95% market,” Elowe says.

Improvements at the complex are expected to cost nearly $20,000 per unit, including new kitchens, bathrooms, flooring, lighting and doors. All of the windows and roofs will be replaced and the exterior will be painted. The property has a pool and playground and will have amenities added including a fitness center, leasing center and Internet Café. Once renovations are complete, the name of the community will also be changed to Bennington Crossing, Elowe says. “For a long time, it has been operated under that name. We are going to be adding all sorts of amenities and change the reputation in the marketplace,” he says.

Laramar expects to hold the properties for at least five years, he says. The properties were acquired for the company’s multifamily value fund, which was launched in December 2006. The $350-million fund has the ability to acquire $1.4 billion in properties. The portfolio acquisition represents the 11th and 12th acquisitions for the fund.

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