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LAS VEGAS-Apartment Investment Management Co. has sold the 670-unit Canyon Pointe Apartments here for $44 million after a 10-year hold. The new owner is a joint venture of Valley Residential Properties, which is led by Marty Burger of New York City-based Artisan Real Estate Ventures, who previously was an executive with the Related Cos. in Las Vegas. Burger’s main partner in the deal is Square Mile Capital.

Built in phases throughout the 1980s, Canyon Pointe is located in the 5400 block of East Harmon Avenue, immediately adjacent to the Eastside Cannery Casino & Hotel, which is scheduled to open in August 2008. The 38-building property covers 26.7 acres and has 400,196 rentable sf. The units are small, with only 42% of the units larger than 700 sf and 12% of the units smaller than 300 sf. Common area amenities include a gated entrance, five swimming pools, a fitness center, covered parking, a playground area and five laundry facilities.

Joe Kupiec with Grubb & Ellis in Las Vegas and Darcy and Diane Miramontes of Grubb & Ellis in San Diego had the disposition assignment for AIM. Northcap Commercial represented the buyer.

Valley Residential’s capitalization rate on the deal is in the low-6% range based on the property’s performance in 2007. The one-year pro forma, which presumes slightly better occupancy and rents following the completion of an exterior rehab and a partial interior rehab, is in the high-6% range, an industry source tells GlobeSt.com.

“It’s in a working-class neighborhood with new housing and a new school adjacent to it; it’s also next to a casino,” one of the brokers in the deal, Miramontes tells GlobeSt.com. “We can improve occupancy because of the construction; a barrier between our property and the construction project came down and temporarily increased the noise and dust, causing a lot of [renters] to clear out and, as a result, a big glitch in occupancy last year. But once the construction work was completed, the community has filled back up.”

Artisan Real Estate Ventures is a real estate investment and development firm that is currently focused on investment and development in Las Vegas. Burger formed Valley Residential Properties in 2007 to build up a portfolio of apartment properties in the Las Vegas Valley and has since acquired 1,975 units in six assets for approximately $200 million. He opened an office in Las Vegas in May to complement the office he opened in NYC in November 2006.

“We hope to further grow our portfolio with a goal of 3,500 units by the end of the year,” Burger says. “We are executing the best financing in today’s market with our combination of Fannie Mae, Wachovia, and RCG Longview, and are optimistic with our short and long range plans.”

In March, Valley Residential Properties paid $32.9 million for Copper Hills at Whitney Ranch. The 272-unit property was divided into individual condominium units by the seller but will continue to be operated as an apartment complex by Valley Residential Properties.

Copper Hills was 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.

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