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[IMGCAP(1)]DALLAS-In back-to-back buys, the Conti Group has grabbed 401 units in two complexes, reaching the halfway mark in four months for his 2,000-unit goal by year’s end. The latest deals draw the local buyer to new stomping grounds.

The newest deeds to roll into the portfolio are the 216-unit Villa Jolla at 11321 Woodmeadow Pkwy. in northeast Dallas and 185-unit La Joya Apartments at 1707 New York Ave. in Arlington. The Dallas property was bought off market for $3.2 million, with the other one making its rounds as a $3.3-million listing by a Hendricks & Partners team.

Carlos Vaz, president of the Conti Group, says the double play also drove the need to seat a property manager for the steadily growing portfolio, which has been built with value-add pickups in Fort Worth’s Woodhaven section, where he’s amassed 600 units in three side-by-side complexes. Newly hired is Amy Gonzalez as Conti Management’s regional manager.

Vaz tells GlobeSt.com that the all-cash offer convinced a local partnership to sell Villa Jolla, a 67%-leased asset now in line for a $500,000 renovation. The 19-building class B complex, situated on 11 acres, is heavily weighted with two-bedroom apartments with one- and three-bedroom floors plans tossed into the mix. Units average 1,000 sf. The average rent is $650 per month or 65 cents per sf. Vaz has his eyes on 73 cents per month, post renovation.

“This property has so much potential,” Gonzalez emphasizes, adding the plan is to give the drive-by some “pop.” The makeover plan begins next week, with the focus on landscaping, the pool area and adding a playground. “It will be no problem whatsoever to turn this property around,” she says. “Without a doubt, we’ll be sitting at 98% occupancy way before six months.”

Vaz says his first purchase in Dallas proper will be a three- to five-year hold. Villa Jolla’s Upside is attached to the purchase price, high number of two-bedroom units and a location just a half block from Interstate 635 and the Dallas Athletic Club.

[IMGCAP(2)]Steering the sale of La Joya were Tom Burns and Jay Gunn, both associate partners in the Dallas office of Phoenix-based Hendricks & Partners. The 93%-leased complex is 3.5 miles from the Dallas Cowboys’ under-construction $1-billion stadium.

Burns says seven offers went on the table during a three-month marketing for Centerline Capital Group of Irving, TX, which had foreclosed on a California owner last year after a fire gutted 21 apartments. “It took a little time,” he says, adding Devonshire Management Co. of Arlington was planted at the property to boost occupancy from 80% and oversee the rebuild. “They put the right management company in there,” Burns says, “and then along comes Carlos.” The winning bid nudged the ask, he says.

La Joya’s first phase came on line in 1958 and two more phases in 1968, taking up 2.3 acres in all. Units go from 500-sf efficiencies to 1,680-sf designs with four bedrooms. Rents range from $400 top $850 per month.

Vaz has been steadily closing deals in a tough market. “He’s buying the C stuff at good prices,” Burns says. “That’s why he’s having decent success.”

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