Home Finance Berkshires on Elliott Trades for $90.6MM as Market Forces Keep Pressure on...

Berkshires on Elliott Trades for $90.6MM as Market Forces Keep Pressure on Rentals

By Kristin Bentley

The Berkshires on Elliott apartments have received a new name, the Griffis Belltown Seattle. Located at 2400 Elliott Avenue in Belltown, the five-story building with 233 units of Class A multifamily housing was acquired by Griffis Residential in January for $90.6 million, or $388,841 per unit.

Located on the city’s downtown waterfront, Belltown is the most densely populated neighborhood in Seattle. Formerly a low-rent, semi-industrial arts district, it has been transformed into a neighborhood of trendy upscale restaurants, boutiques, nightclubs, art galleries and residential towers. With the majority of the city consisting of older buildings, Belltown has become a desired area for those looking for a renovation project.

“We are focused on markets where there are growing millennial populations and strong innovation hubs”

The newly-named Griffis Belltown Seattle, originally built in 1990, offers studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom units that feature gas fireplaces, private patios and balconies, and a rooftop community deck with views of downtown Seattle and the Puget Sound. Additional community amenities include an outdoor fireplace, heated pool and spa and media rooms.

According to a report in the Denver Post, by July of last year Griffis raised $250 million from its investors to buy apartments in three “hot” markets, one of them being in Washington. “We are focused on markets where there are growing millennial populations and strong innovation hubs,” said David Birnbaum, CEO of Griffis in a statement. The company focuses on higher-quality communities built between late 1990 and mid 2000 that are in need of a “refresh.”

“We are looking forward to implementing our value-add strategies and service upgrades at Griffis Belltown,” said Griffis Residential Co-CEO, Ian Griffis, after the acquisition in January. “While the supply of apartments in Seattle is expanding, the long-term economic future of this innovation hub is appealing. Demographics continue to favor the apartment industry going forward.”

With nearly $1.2 billion in multifamily assets under management, Denver-based Griffis Residential is a multifamily real estate investment company that owns and manages high quality apartment communities in Colorado, Texas, Nevada and Washington. The firm’s philosophy is to manage the properties it owns and improve the experience of its tenants, further boosting the financial performance and value of its holdings.

An issue on the horizon right now in Belltown is on the supply and how the new inventory is going to be absorbed once it hits the market. Belltown had 1,100 units delivered last year by six projects, which were absorbed fairly well, stated a broker who asked not to be identified. However, the current number of units under construction is just over 3,600 through eight projects. Numbers across the Puget Sound region indicated continued strength in the market as well as continued supply. According to a recent, fourth quarter Seattle apartment report by Kidder Mathews regional apartment market vacancy rate stood at 3.5 percent at the end of the year, a figure well below the 20-year average of 5 percent. Vacancy has oscillated from 3.5 percent to 4.0 percent over the past two years as rising new construction has been met with consistent demand.

In 2016 the market will see 11,992 new units delivered, almost all of that under construction at this time. This figure is set to jump up significantly in 2017 (16,052) and 2018 (15,305), according to the report, which could have a stabilizing effect on rent increases, as well.