Want to invest in apartments? Do it right here

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 at 12:29am

During the National Multi Housing Council’s annual apartment recent convention, an industry researcher ranked Nashville fourth in the country for best places to investment in apartments.

The council’s presentation, which was done by Dallas-based MPF/Yield Star, concluded that, “Music City is the Southeast’s under-the-radar choice.” It gave Nashville an “A” grade.

Last year, apartment investors bought in transactions totaling more than $500 million, a record year. Then, last week, Florida investor New Dawn launched the year with its acquisition of Lexington Apartments in Bellevue for $52.5 million, borrowing $45 million for the deal.

Kent Burns, president of apartment owner Freeman Webb Investments, said large portfolio sales drove the numbers last year.

New Dawn, for example, bought four properties from Equity Residential last year, which accounted for $141 million of last year’s total. Mission Residential of Virginia bulked up in Nashville over the past two years with eight properties.

For its part, Freeman Webb, the largest owner and manager of apartments in the Nashville area, recently bought two apartment communities in Murfreesboro for $14 million.

Burns said he doesn’t expect sales this year will be as strong because the highly-leveraged buyers will have to back away with debt tightening, particularly conduit lenders giving second and third mortgages.

“That’s what’s dried,” Burns said.

Bank branch building

Wachovia Bank has a branch planned near Thomas Nelson Publishing.

The bank recently bought 2.3 acres of land at 2723 Elm Hill Pike from Charles Resha, a local real estate investor, and Radley Hendrixson. Hendrixson, a broker with NAI Nashville, represented the selling group.

Wachovia paid $945,000 for the property.

Health care anchor

A joint venture between Saint Thomas Health Services and Williamson Medical Center will anchor a new medical office building in Thompson Station’s Tollgate Village.

The venture is leasing 30,000 square feet of the 45,000-square-foot Tollgate Village Medical Pavilion being developed by Franklin-based First Colony Healthcare, a subsidiary of Charlotte-based developer First Colony. Construction starts next month and is expected to finish later this year.

First Colony has plans for 21,000 square feet of retail in three buildings in addition to the medical office building.

Rob Gage, a broker with Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, and J. T. Martin, a broker with Southeast Venture, worked the lease.

Marketplace appears Tuesdays in The City Paper.Have an item to share? E-mail it to rlawson@nashvillecitypaper.com

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