A Florida real estate company paid $40.5 million last month to buy the 292-unit Spring Canyon apartment complex on Colorado Springs' northwest side, as out-of-town investors continue to snap up multi-family properties in the Pikes Peak region.

Advenir Inc., whose website says it acquires and operates apartment communities nationwide on behalf of high net worth and institutional investors, bought Spring Canyon from Hamilton Zanze, a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm. The complex, built in 1997, sits on nearly 15 acres at Garden of the Gods Road and 30th Street.

According to El Paso County land records, Advenir already owns the Briarglen and Cheyenne Crossing apartment communities on Colorado Springs' north and southwest sides, respectively.

A company official couldn't be reached for comment on its latest Springs acquisition.

One of the seller's representatives - Kevin McKenna, of the Denver office of national brokerage Apartment Realty Advisors - said similar purchases of apartment properties are being made around the state.

There's "a deep pool of investors" for complexes of 200 or more units that were built in the 1980s and later, said McKenna, who was joined by colleagues Doug Andrews and Jeff Hawks in brokering the deal. Low vacancy rates and rising rents are attracting buyers, who also can obtain commercial loans through mortgage giants Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, McKenna said.

"We had a dozen offers on Spring Canyon," he said. "There was a lot of interest and a lot of competition. Apartments are kind of the darling of the commercial real estate world from an investment standpoint, and have been for a number of years."

Buyers like Colorado Springs' inventory of quality properties in good locations, McKenna said. Also, apartment sale prices in the Springs are less than in Denver, which means a potential better return for investors, he said.

Previous owner Hamilton Zanze had remodeled about 15 percent of Spring Canyon's interiors, and was able to get higher rents as a result, McKenna said. That showed potential buyers they could do the same, he said.

Spring Canyon is near Agilent Technologies and other major employers along the Garden of the Gods Road corridor and is a short drive from Interstate 25, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the Veterans Administration clinic that's being built at Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street. The property also is close to Garden of the Gods park and other scenic areas.

Advenir's purchase price, equivalent to $138,699 per unit, isn't a record, but nevertheless demonstrates a bullishness on the part of investors in the Springs market.

Other recent acquisitions include a New York firm's $48.5 million purchase of the 364-unit Bella Springs Apartments on the Springs' far north side and a California firm $54 million acquisition of the 332-unit Alexan at Briargate complex on the northeast side - a record for the area.


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