EJF Capital LLC (“EJF”) and Holland Partner Group (“HPG”) today announced that they have formed a joint venture to acquire and operate two adjacent six-story buildings in downtown Vancouver, Washington, that will consist of 200 multifamily units and approximately 2,200 square feet of retail. The buildings are located on 1.1 acres in an area certified as a “Qualified Opportunity Zone” under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (“TCJA”), which offers investors tax benefits to invest into Opportunity Zones with the aim of spurring economic growth in lower income areas.
The $62.5 million acquisition in downtown Vancouver will be rebranded Coen & Columbia (the “Project”). The first building, Coen, is scheduled to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2020, and is a 118-unit multifamily community with 20% of the units set aside for workforce housing, and 2,200 square feet of retail. The second building, Columbia, offers 82 multifamily units. Both buildings sit atop a city-owned parking garage with more than 750 parking spaces.
Bullish on Downtown Vancouver
“Downtown Vancouver has experienced significant growth and momentum, making this a tremendous project and a great opportunity,” said EJF Co-CEO Neal Wilson. “We are excited to expand our partnership with HPG, which brings proven multifamily development and operational experience.”
In July 2020, EJF and HPG partnered to develop “Block 10”, a mixed-use project in downtown Vancouver, WA with 110 multifamily units, approximately 79,000 gross square feet of office space and 10,100 square feet of retail space, one block north of Coen & Columbia. The Block 10 project broke ground in July 2020 and expects to deliver in 2022.
“This is another exciting project we have on the books with EJF,” said Clyde Holland, HPG’s CEO and Chairman. “Coen & Columbia, coupled with Block 10, creates a portfolio in close proximity that will add to the vibrancy of downtown Vancouver. The acquisition of these buildings provides a concentration of 300 units that will offer residents attractive amenities and an excellent location.”
Vancouver is the second largest city in the Portland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) with 183,000 residents. The metropolitan area’s economic expansion is driven by athletic apparel, professional and financial services, technology and healthcare firms. Major office employers in Vancouver include Banfield Pet Hospital, Fisher Investments, HP and Peace Health.
“We love the downtown Vancouver story,” said Asheel Shah, EJF Senior Managing Director and Head of Real Estate Development. “The economics of Vancouver are very compelling, as people continue to seek cost-effective, amenity-rich environments inside of high-growth metropolitan areas. Vancouver is exactly that, conveniently located near major employers, and offering an array of amenities from bars and restaurants to parks and entertainment.”
Downtown Vancouver is experiencing a boom in apartment and condo development, with five other projects currently under construction, totaling more than 750 units. Additionally, downtown has another 1,100 units in the planning phase, further illustrating the attractiveness of this convenient, mixed-use submarket. Vancouver’s population is growing and since the state of Washington has neither personal nor business income tax, companies and individuals are drawn to the city.
Separately, there is more investment underway along the Columbia River in downtown Vancouver, including the $1.5 billion mixed-use Waterfront revitalization development at the former Boise Cascade property.
“It is a spectacular market with so many positive things happening,” Wilson said. “We are certainly long-term investors in Vancouver.”
KeyBank provided financing for the project.
About EJF Capital
EJF Capital LLC is a global alternative asset management firm headquartered outside of Washington, D.C. As of September 30, 2020, EJF manages approximately $5.7 billion across a diverse group of alternative asset strategies. The firm was founded in 2005 by Manny Friedman and Neal Wilson. Since inception, EJF has focused on regulatory event-driven investment themes including its strategy to invest in Opportunity Zones.
EJF formed the EJF OpZone Fund I LP (the “Fund”) to take advantage of certain benefits provided by the TCJA. Benefits to U.S. taxable investors include the ability for investors to (1) defer the recognition of recent capital gains for federal income tax purposes until 2026 (treatment of capital gains varies by state), (2) reduce the amount of capital gains recognized in 2026 by 10% (for investors investing by 2021), and (3) eliminate any federal capital gains tax generated from investments in the Fund (for investors in the Fund at least ten years). As of November 2, 2020, the Fund had approximately $204.4 million in cumulative subscriptions and has closed on eight investments, including the Project, comprised of five multifamily projects, one industrial logistics park, one mixed use project and one hotel project. If you would like more information on the Fund, please visit http://ejfopzone.com or contact EJF Investor Relations at email@example.com.
About Holland Partner Group
Holland Partner Group is a fully-integrated real estate investment company with two decades of experience and more than 800 team members. Recognized as the most consistent and reliable delivery mechanism in the real estate industry, HPG’s vertically integrated platform consists of five operating companies with expertise in development, construction, acquisition, redevelopment, and property management. Maintaining an unwavering focus on the most exceptional markets and properties, HPG has demonstrated success time and time again on projects in the most high-growth Western U.S. markets including Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver, San Diego, and the San Francisco Bay Area.