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SAN FRANCISCO-The Lembi Group’s apartment empire is under siege.

The family-run enterprise spent more than $1 billion between 2003 and 2007 acquiring all manner of local apartment buildings in high-leverage transactions, much of it toward the end of the cycle. At one point Lembi owned 8,000 units in 307 buildings through companies such as Trophy Properties, Skyline Realty, and CitiApartments, making it briefly the largest owner of apartment buildings in the city, if not the most well reviewed.

Then came the recession, which not only lowered the values of the assets but also hurt their performance. Earlier this year, with debt service outstripping revenue by millions every month, Lembi ceded 1,400 units in 521 buildings to UBS. The situation has gotten worse, not better, since that time as debts continue to mature faster than it can be renegotiated.

The story of the Lembi Group’s rise and fall was detailed this month in an 8,000-word article by writer Danelle Morton for San Francisco Magazine. Click here for the article.

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