New owner doesn't plan to convert North Miami apartments
By Marilyn Bowden
Bucking the condo-conversion trend of the past few years, a California investment firm that paid $27.57 million for a 376-unit apartment complex in North Miami plans to maintain it as a rental community.
Atherton-Newport Investments bought Miami Gardens Villas, 12 NE 188th St., from owners who had held it for nearly 20 years, said Brad Capas of Cushman & Wakefield, which represented the seller.
Nick Lizotte, Atherton-Newport's acquisitions director, said his company plans to spend close to $4 million to renovate the 92 four-plex buildings along seven blocks of 188th Street.
"We will clean up 188th Street with landscaping," he said, "and give it some better curb appeal and gentrification of the neighborhood. In the interiors, we will spruce up the kitchens and bathrooms. It has not been updated since construction was completed in 1971, so it needs modern amenities."
The renovated apartments will rent for "slightly below the average rent rate for Miami," Mr. Lizotte said. "The tenant profile is more blue-collar - waiters and waitresses, bartenders, police and firemen."
Atherton-Newport, founded in Irvine, CA, in 2001, has focused on acquisition, rehabilitation, repositioning and management of multifamily properties, he said. This is the company's entry into Florida. "Our goal, in addition to this acquisition, is to have around 1,200 units in South Florida within 12 months," Mr. Lizotte said.
During the rush to acquire Class A rental properties for conversion to condos, Mr. Capas said, vintage properties such as Miami Gardens Villas have been overlooked.
"I think we will see more investors taking a second look at older properties in markets they might have passed over before," he said. "There is a shortage of rental housing in South Florida due largely to reductions in available inventory through conversion, and there is continuing demand. With rates going up everywhere, these properties can offer some pretty attractive upside."