HOUSTON-After holding the 375-unit Lofts at the Ballpark for a little more than six years, a local company sold the class A complex to Archstone-Smith of Englewood, CO. Archstone-Smith’s reputation for closing and management allowed the company to beat out 19 other offers for the downtown asset.

David Mitchell, principal with Apartment Realty Advisor’s Houston office says seller Sentinel Real Estate Corp. reached the end of its hold period for the property at 610 St. Emmanuel St., kitty-corner to Minute Maid Ballpark, where the Houston Astros baseball club plays. Mitchell, who represented the seller, says Archstone-Smith wasn’t the highest bidder, but was a quality bidder. “Archstone has a remarkable reputation in the market for closing deals,” he explains.

Financial information on the transaction was kept under wraps due to confidentiality agreements. Downtown apartment complexes have traded in the low $100,000s per unit. Sentinel Real Estate Corp. acquired the eight-year-old asset from Houston developer Hanover Co. in 2002 for $41.6 million.

Mitchell tells GlobeSt.com that Archstone-Smith is buying into an area that is starting to see some upside with the recent opening of the 12-acre Discovery Green Park, as well as construction on the nearby Fingers Building and Houston Pavilions. “I think Archstone is betting that side of downtown might become the next midtown, and we think it has a very good chance to be a really, really nice part of Houston during the next three or four years,” he says.

The 98%-occupied Lofts at the Ballpark consists of three buildings on 4.3 acres. The one-bedroom and two-bedroom units range in size from 677 sf to 1,661 sf. Monthly rents are between $927 and $1,949.

ARA principals David Oelfke, Dave Wylie and Matthew Rotan worked with Mitchell on behalf of the seller. Archstone-Smith had in-house representation.

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