Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Colorado Springs apartment complex bought for record $54 million

By Rich Laden Updated: December 4, 2013 at 4:18 pm

A California real estate company has paid $54 million to purchase the Alexan at Briargate apartment complex in northeast Colorado Springs, another sign of the red-hot local multi-family market.

Passco Companies LLC of Irvine, Calif., a privately held firm that specializes in the investment, acquisition, development and management of commercial properties nationwide, completed the purchase last week of the 332-unit complex east of Powers and Union boulevards.

Passco renamed the complex Vue21 - noting its mountain views and its location near Powers, which, as a state highway, is officially known as Colorado 21.

The $54 million acquisition and roughly $163,000 per-unit price are record highs for a large Springs apartment community, said Kevin McKenna, a vice president with the Denver office of Atlanta-based ARA Real Estate Investment Services. McKenna and ARA principals Jeff Hawks and Doug Andrews represented the seller of the complex, which public records show was Boston Capital Real Estate Partners, one of the nation's largest apartment owners.

"This is the nicest (apartment) community, in my opinion, in Colorado Springs," McKenna said. "It's not the newest, but it's the nicest."

The 11-acre luxury complex was built in 2008, county land records show, and is part of Cordera - the far east side of what was the original 10,000-acre Briargate master-planned area in northern Colorado Springs. The complex has one-, two- and three-bedoom apartments, a 24-hour clubhouse, a fitness center, swimming pool large open floor plans with island kitchens and other amenities.

Gary Goodman, Passco's senior vice president for acquisitions, said the purchase marks the company's first acquisition in the Springs. Passco targets high-end properties and holds them for seven to 10 years, he said.

Passco likes the Springs' fundamentals: an improving jobs picture, the potential for more economic growth and a quality lifestyle, Goodman said.

He also said the complex is in an excellent location. It's within Academy School District 20, and is a short drive from major north-side employers such as USAA, Focus on the Family and a T-Mobile call center. It's also a short distance from the Briargate Crossing shopping center, which is anchored by Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse and a SuperTarget.

The current strength of the multi-family market also was a big factor in the company's decision to invest in the Springs, Goodman said. When rents rise as they have, it's a sign residents are willing and able to pay more, he said.

"The way we look at the market, at the top end, particularly, there's some room to grow with respect to rents," Goodman said. "That's why we like to buy, probably, the property that's got the highest rents in town."

According to the website under the former owner, rents ranged from $916 a month for a one-bedroom unit to $1,577 for a three-bedroom, two-bath unit.

Average Colorado Springs-area rents hit a record high of $830 a month during the third quarter - nearly $925 on the far northeast side where the complex is located. Rents have increased for 15 consecutive quarters, according to the Colorado Division of Housing. The area's third-quarter multi-family vacancy rate of 5.4 percent also was a 12-year low.

With the acquistion, Passco now owns 33 multi-family properties and more than 10,000 units in 14 states.

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Contact Rich Laden: 636-0228

Twitter @richladen

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