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Thursday, Dec 8, 2022

LA Real Estate Firms Are Making Deals Outside California

Los Angeles real estate companies are turning their attention to farther flung markets and closing deals outside California, from Provo, Utah to Orlando, Fla.

Over the past few weeks, two Westside firms have made significant acquisitions.

Santa Monica-based MJW Investments purchased a student housing community at Brigham Young University in Utah. The price was not disclosed.

MJW acquired the 154-unit, 924-bed community in partnership with Provo, Utah-based Redstone Residential Inc.

With the acquisition, MJW now has more than 7,000 student housing beds across the United States.

Amenities at the property near BYU include a hot tub, sand volleyball court, pool and on-site laundry.

It is MJW’s sixth acquisition in the area.

In March, the company, along with Redstone Residential and Venice-based MHE Enterprises Inc. acquired a 1,156-bed student housing community nearby.

In the most recent acquisition, MJW plans to spend money on the units and amenities to make it a more desirable property. Redstone Residential will oversee the renovations and property operations.

“The property’s close proximity to campus and remarkable offerings are just a few of the aspects that make this property incredibly attractive,” Mark Weinstein, president and founder of MJW Investments, said in a statement.

“This brings our 2021 acquisitions to more than 2,000 beds in Provo. We are excited to bring a new living experience for the students at BYU, and we are incredibly confident that this will be an enhanced living experience for the students once our capital projects are complete,” he added.

Voya Investment Management financed debt for the acquisition.

Farther south, Sawtelle-based BH Properties on June 1 acquired a retail center in Plano, Texas, for an undisclosed price.

Known as Preston Shepard Place, the property has 361,780 square feet of retail space on 31 acres. The center was built in 1995 and counts Marshalls, Burlington and Tuesday Morning as its anchor stores.

The site was only 55% leased at closing.

“Preston Shepard Place is an underutilized retail site primed for upward leasing momentum and increased traffic patterns,” Scott Henry, BH Properties’ director of acquisitions, said in a statement.

“With 163,002 square feet of vacancy, we have plenty of runway to generate future cash flow growth. We plan to accommodate a wide variety of retailers by demising the larger vacancies into smaller spaces. The high-traffic location and asset dynamics provide an opportunity to generate significant NOI (net operating income) growth,” he added.

From 2008 to 2018, the center was 94.4% occupied, according to BH Properties. The current low occupancy numbers are due to corporate retail bankruptcies, according to the company.

The transaction is BH Properties’ first retail deal of the year.

While other local companies are adding assets, Woodland Hills-based CGI Real Estate Investment Strategies is letting go of some properties in other states.

The company announced June 3 that it sold Astoria at Celebration in Celebration, Fla., to Versity Investments for $74.5 million.

The property has 306 luxury multifamily units spread across six, four-story buildings with a central clubhouse and pool.

The property was built in 2016 before being vacated due to construction issues in 2017. CGI acquired the vacant community in 2019 for $43 million and brought the property up to code. At the time of its sale to Versity Investments, the property was 99% leased.

“Our history as a ground-up developer gave us both the experience and confidence that we could undertake a massive challenge like we did with Astoria and turn it into a Class-A resort-style property,” Gidi Cohen, CGI’s chief executive, said in a statement.

“Having successfully restored the property to optimal condition, and with the Orlando market continuing to trend up, we were able to exceed our business plan in record time,” he added.

CGI expects the property to perform well moving forward.

Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans Welk
Hannah Madans covers real estate for the Los Angeles Business Journal. A USC grad, Madans has done work with publications including The Orange County Register, The Real Deal and doityourself.com.

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