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MESA, AZ-New York City seller TIAA-CREF succeeded in unloading one of its assets from a two-property portfolio brought to market last summer. Active area investors Judy and Howard Bassham of Rancho Santa Fe, CA bought the 240-unit San Montego Apartments for $20 million while the New York City seller held onto the 448-unit San Melia Apartments in Phoenix.

“For the two buildings combined, we had around 24 offers, so there was great activity on the assets,” comments Brad Goff, principal with Apartment Realty Advisors’ Phoenix office. Goff and Apartment Realty Advisors’ colleague and principal Brett Zinn had the marketing assignment for the 728-unit, class A portfolio.

Goff tells GlobeSt.com the Basshams were a particularly attractive buyer for a number of reasons. For one thing, the Basshams have successfully bought and sold multifamily assets in the area. Additionally, “the Basshams had the cash in their own account to acquire property and didn’t need to raise equity,” Goff explains. “We had trust they’d be the closer.”

Because the private buyer had its own cash on hand, and because it wasn’t beholden to a board or committee, it could act quickly. Goff says that such buyers are perfect for Phoenix’s market these days. Because Phoenix suffered economically when the housing bubble exploded, committees and boards can “get a little spooked when they look at multifamily here and they’re likely to turn it down,” Goff adds.

In the meantime, the Basshams do plan upgrades to the 1995-built San Montego at 6745 E. Superstition Springs Blvd. Goff says the primary capital expenditures will be targeted at interior renovations. Also on the “to-do” list are exterior painting and landscaping.

In the meantime, TIAA-CREF will hang onto San Melia at 14435 S. 48th St. for awhile, at least until the marketplace calms a bit. Though San Melia offers better economics, Goff says today’s buyers might find the price per unit a little tough to swallow.

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