FRANKLIN, MA-An 89-unit apartment complex fashioned from a former mill has been sold to a Newport, RI-based multifamily investor. An affiliate of Landings Real Estate Group paid $8.6 million for the Union Square Apartments at 301 Union St.

“It offers some good upside for the buyer,” says Biria St. John of Cushman & Wakefield’s capital markets group in Boston, whose team negotiated the agreement on behalf of the seller, an affiliate of Dunphy Management Corp. of Quincy. That firm had owned Union Square Apartments since purchasing the asset for $7 million in 2003. C&W also procured the buyer in the latest transaction. An executive director whose specialty is multifamily sales, St. John handled the assignment along with executive director Simon Butler and associate Chris Sower.

Dunphy principal Colm Dunphy tells that the sale came about largely from a desire to concentrate his firm’s holdings closer to its base in Boston and Quincy. “The deal worked out well for us,” says Dunphy, citing a combination of the marketing effort and a resilient multifamily sector that remains one of the few bright spots in the difficult investment-sales climate.

“The rental market has been pretty good,” Dunphy says, reporting healthy rental rates and an occupancy in his portfolio close to 100%. Dunphy Management will be eyeing fresh opportunities near the Boston urban core, adds the firm’s founder, who has been active regionally for more than 20 years.

Landings founder Christopher Bicho did not respond to inquiries about the Franklin deal by deadline. St. John deferred questions about the deal to the principals but says Union Square Apartments has a number of factors that boost its attractiveness as a residential address.

“It’s a nice property in a nice location,” says St. John, citing proximity to a commuter rail stop feeding into Boston as well as quick highway access to Interstate 495. The community has recently made several infrastructure improvements to the Union Street neighborhood, adds St. John, while Franklin’s unusually large commercial base makes for an active employment market that has enhanced occupancy at the complex.

One source maintains Landings is planning an upgrade of 301 Union St., and says the firm may change the development’s name to incorporate its Landings brand. Whether that is the case remains unclear, but the affiliate that acquired the property is Union Square Landings LLC. “That’s no coincidence,” insists the source.

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