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PHOENIX-TIAA-CREF sold the second and final asset from a two-complex portfolio brought to market in mid-2008. Investment Property Associates LLC paid $47.8 million in an off-market transaction to claim the 448-unit class A complex as its own.

According to Colliers International’s senior vice president Cindy Cooke, the Grand Haven, MI buyer is on an active hunt for class A properties in the area, and hired her and Colliers colleague Brad Cooke to find likely assets. Cooke acknowledges the brokers were “turning over rocks” to find the ideal property when San Melia at 14435 S. 49th St. hit their radar.

“They saw San Melia as the crown jewel in that submarket, and it captured their attention,” Cooke says. Though Investment Property Associates is planning to tweak the asset with property upgrades, “overall it’s in awesome shape,” Cooke tells GlobeSt.com.

San Melia Apartments was built by Mark Taylor Development during the mid-1990s, and was placed on the market in July 2008 with another Mark Taylor complex, the 240-unit San Montego Apartments at 6745 E. Superstition Springs Blvd. in Mesa. San Montego sold earlier this year for $20 million to Judy and Howard Bassham of Rancho Santa Fe, CA.

At that time, the New York City-based TIAA-CREF, represented by Brad Goff at the Phoenix office of Apartment Realty Advisors, pulled San Melia off the sales block to wait for a more stable market. Investment Property Associates came along with its Freddie Mac loan and long-term hold strategy, and the deal was struck.

San Melia Apartments, situated on 28 acres, is 96% occupied. The complex has one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments.

Cooke says the area market represents a good opportunity for the buyer, which is looking in Scottsdale, Chandler, Temple, Gilbert and various areas in Phoenix for potential buys. She says the investor likes assets built from the mid-1990s on, that are in good condition, in very accessible locations and with large floor plans.

“They own other properties in this area and want to keep filling their portfolio,” she adds. “They’re very much about buying quality assets, and believe now is the best time to do so in this market.”

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