NEW YORK, NY - Wharton Equity Partners, LLC, a New York City-based diversified investment firm, announced today that it has purchased an interest in four central Florida rental communities totaling 900 units for $50.0 million as part of its continued expansion in the multi-family rental sector.
The transaction was completed through a partnership led by certain real estate funds affiliated with Och-Ziff Capital Management Group LLC, an alternative asset manager with assets under management of approximately $29.8 billion as of May 1, 2012. Cocke Finkelstein, Inc., an Atlanta-based real estate and investment management firm, also invested in the transaction and will provide property management services for the venture.
"The properties, attractively located within the growing Tampa and Orlando sub-markets, presented an opportunity to acquire a critical mass of institutionally-owned and managed communities in areas that are experiencing tightening market conditions. With yields in the primary markets reaching historic lows, capital will need to migrate to attractive secondary areas in order to meet return requirements. A major focus of our multifamily platform is to pursue these types of assets," stated Wharton Equity Partners' Chairman and President Peter C. Lewis.
Collectively, the assets have undergone over $12.0 million in capital improvements in recent years, including new roofs and siding, extensive appliance replacements, kitchen and bath upgrades, updated landscaping and upgraded furnishings and fixtures. The properties currently have economic occupancies of approximately 90%, with decreasing concessions and rising rents.
The Florida acquisition represents the first investment in multi-family properties by Wharton Equity within the last 90 days. In April, the firm, through affiliated entities, purchased a $52.0 million portfolio of 569 units in northwest Chicago. Wharton Equity partnered with Chicago-based real estate investment firm, JRG Capital Partners on the transaction.
Wharton Equity plans on quickly adding to its nucleus of multifamily properties and is targeting markets in the eastern United States, Midwest and Texas.
Wharton Equity Partners is a privately held-alternative asset management firm focused on real estate and private equity investments. For over 25 years, the firm has successfully followed a disciplined strategy of recognizing and capitalizing on emerging growth trends to achieve substantial risk-adjusted returns.