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ATLANTA-W&S Management LLC, an entity backed by a private investor, has sold the 68-unit Meadows of Gwinnett apartment community for $3 million. Buyer Terrapin Apartments LLC, also backed by private investors, acquired the distressed asset by assuming a $2.2-million, non-recourse CMBS loan. With occupancy declining across the market, deals like this one involving loan assumptions and seller financing will continue to dominate until capital begins to flow again, says Richard Bell, broker with locally based Apartment Realty Advisors, who represented the seller in the transaction.

Meadows of Gwinnett, located at 1291 Britain Drive in suburban Lawrenceville, is 70% occupied. The property had negative cash flow and the owner could not perform deferred maintenance that would have required a large capital infusion, “so it became a downward spiraling cycle,” Bell tells GlobeSt.com. “The price per unit, $44,118, is still strong in relative terms. The buyer benefited by assuming this loan, which matures in May of next year.”

As part of the loan assumption, Terrapin assumed a $50,000 capital reserve account, which it will use immediately to replace roofs and update interiors throughout the community to get the property stabilized in time for a refinance next year. The new owner will also correct plumbing within six of the 17 quadraplexes consisting of two- and three-bedroom units averaging 1,215 square feet. Average rental rates range from $750 to $825 per month. The complex, which was built in the 1980s, is located less than two miles from Interstate 85 and Georgia 316, and is convenient to Gwinnett Place Mall and the Mall of Georgia.

“This was a very complex transaction due to it being a CMBS loan assumption,” says Bell. Rising vacancies throughout the Atlanta market, caused by tenants doubling up and migrant workers usually employed within the construction industry moving away, mean that many properties are underperforming, making it extremely difficult to get debt on these assets, he explains.

“In today’s markets, typically when we value a property we start with what kind of loan you can get,” Bell says. As a result, “many of the transactions that have been completed over the past two to three months have involved loan assumptions and seller financing, and we’ll continue to see this until the capital markets improve.”

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