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LOWELL, MA-The just-completed $17.9 million purchase of a failed condominium complex here almost seems like a no-brainer for Princeton Properties, a veteran multifamily company based in Lowell that is now shopping one of the two buildings as apartments and trying to close out sales of the condominiums at the other. CEO Andrew Chaban concurs that the Grandview project on Pawtucket Boulevard represents a sweet spot for his company, but stresses the firm is also chasing new deals outside Princeton’s core market.

“We are very much out looking for acquisitions,” Chaban tells GlobeSt.com, expressing overall confidence in the region’s multifamily sector, especially on the rental side. He says, “That is holding up pretty well.” Partly because tenants who had been defecting to acquire new homes are now more inclined to stay put in the uncertain climate, he elaborates, while Greater Boston’s multifamily stock has also not been as overbuilt–as has been the case in other markets, such as Florida and the southwest. Among other areas, Princeton is hoping to make inroads into the Boston rental scene, Chaban explains, aiming to complement its ownership of a Brookline asset, 1470 Beacon St.

Princeton has a flexible investment profile, having acquired projects with as few as 24 units, but last year completing a $56-million deal in Nashua, NH. In business since 1973, the company, today, owns more than 5,000 apartment units in 32 communities located in Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. “We are not scared at taking on the larger properties,” he says, having owned communities featuring upwards of 500 units.

The company also had little trepidation buying the Grandview complex after the original developer became over-weighted in loans. That led Lowell Five Cents Savings Bank to take over the project after lending the developer $18.5 million, with the bank then selling the asset to Princeton. Although the deal just closed, Princeton has been marketing the rental units for several months, hoping to take advantage of the spring rental season, Chaban says. Activity has been encouraging, he says, and the makeup of the project does allow Princeton to lease one of the buildings and shop the other as condominiums, especially since several units in that structure were purchased prior to the Grandview’s fiscal woes.

“We’re going to see where the market takes us,” reports Chaban, possibly stepping up unit sales if the response makes that viable. Despite the financial difficulties, Grandview is a superior site for residential use, says Chaban, adding that the well-appointed units offer a rare measure of quality for rental product. Features include hardwood floors, granite countertops and gas appliances, while the Grandview also offers impressive views of the Merrimack River on which it is located. “It is a very well-conceived project,” says Chaban. “The timing just wasn’t there.”

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