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LAS VEGAS-Valley Residential Properties, led by Marty Berger of New York City-based Artisan Real Estate Ventures, has acquired Copper Hills at Whitney Ranch apartment complex in Henderson. The 272-unit property at 981 Whitney Ranch Dr. was divided into individual condominium units by the seller but will continue to be operated as an apartment complex by Valley Residential Properties, which acquired the asset via VRP Copper Hills LLC.

Copper Hills is Valley Residential’s first Vegas-area apartment acquisition since early 2007, when it acquired 1,032 apartment units in four metro-area garden-style apartment complexes for approximately $120 million. The properties were Meadow Ridge, a 232-unit property located near the intersection of Tropicana Avenue and Decatur Boulevard; Bayshore Club, a 144-unit complex a few blocks from Meadow Ridge; Spanish Oaks, a 216-unit asset located on South Valley View Boulevard, north of West Sahara Avenue; and Summerhill Villas, a 440-unit property on the eastern border of Summerlin at 2150 North Tenaya.

Spence Ballif and Jeff Swinger of CB Richard Ellis Las Vegas had the disposition assignment for Copper Hills. The seller was an entity of Steven Hartunian. Ballif tells GlobeSt.com that apartment complexes mapped for condos in the Henderson market are pretty hard to find. The cap rate–based on the trailing 90 days and pro forma expenses that have been adjusted for tax consequences–was 5.35%.

“Properties are still trading at low cap rates but volume is down” because of the credit markets, he says.

Average apartment occupancy in the region, which has been falling for the past year, was 92.3% at the end of 2007, according to Applied Analysis, a locally based business research and advisory firm. At the end of 2006, average occupancy was 95.4%. That having been said, the apartment sector is anticipated to experience a supply shortage during the next several years as new resort development brings tens of thousands of new workers into the region, according to Applied Analysis principal Brian Gordon.

“While it is likely that developers will respond to a potential supply shortage, we anticipate apartment demand to easily exceed the performance of the past several years,” he said.

Marty Berger is a former executive of Related Las Vegas. He also sits on Mack Cali’s Board of Directors and was the chairman and chief executive of City & Suburban Federal Savings Bank until its acquisition last year by Ridgewood Savings Bank. Berger launched Artisan Real Estate Ventures and Valley Residential Properties in 2006.

His partner in Valley Residential Properties is Jeffrey Fine, the principal owner of Fine Venture Partners, whose holdings include Silver Nugget Gaming LLC, a gaming company focused on the Las Vegas locals market; and Fine Properties LLC, which has been focused on Las Vegas real estate since 2004. Prior to Fine Venture Partners, Fine worked for Nomura Securities’ US real estate lending subsidiary.

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