By Jack Stubbs
The city of Renton on the southern edge of Lake Washington is an area in transition. And an apartment property in The Landing mixed-use development recently traded hands for a significant sum. On Tuesday, September 25th, Colorado-based Griffis Residential acquired the 440-unit Reserve Apartments for $143 million, or approximately $325,000 per unit, according to public records filed with King County. The seller of the apartment complex was San Diego-based Fairfield Residential, who acquired and developed the asset in 2007.
For Griffis Residential, the recent acquisition of The 440-unit Reserve Apartments represented a unique opportunity given the asset’s location. The multifamily real estate investment company plans to upgrade certain elements of the property, according to Jim DiRienzo, senior vice president of investments at Griffis Residential. “Our general view is that it’s a great asset, and we think we can take it a little bit further. The first phase was delivered in 2008 and in some ways the finishes reflect that; the units are ready for an update, so that will be part of our business plan,” he said. “We’re hoping to pull the community together and be a good part of Renton, Southport and The Landing shopping center, as well.”
As part of its vision, Griffis Residential has rebranded the the five-story Reserve Apartments, located at 1202 N. 10th Place, as Griffis Lake Washington at The Landing. The asset offers a mix of studio, one- and two-bedroom units that range from 593 to 1,280 square feet and rent for between $1,420 and $2,365, according to the property listing on apartments.com.
The new web site for the property emphasizes the location of the asset, where residents “get the best of both worlds, located steps from the retail and dining convenience of The Landing Shopping Center with easy access to the lakefront lifestyle of Gene Coulon Memorial Beach on the south side of Lake Washington.”
Some of the amenities available at the property include a business center, two outdoor recreation courtyards, barbecue pits and outdoor lounge, controlled-access garage parking with director elevator access and electric vehicle charging stations. Some of the in-unit amenities include wood-style flooring, open concept floor plans, electric fireplaces, private balcony and granite-tile countertops.
In the broader context of the asset’s location within the evolving city of Renton, DiRienzo hopes that with the recent acquisition, Griffis Residential—who plans to do some light, cosmetic value-add improvements to the property—can contribute to the changing fabric of the surrounding area. “We’re a core-plus buyer and we like buying in improving locations. We think Renton has an extremely bright future and the asset is right down the middle of the fairway for us,” he said. “Management is a big part of what we do; we love the city of Renton and the Southport location, so we’re extremely excited about the opportunity.”
The property is less than a ten minute walk from another mixed-use development that is set to change the fabric of Renton in the coming months. The 17-acre mixed-use Southport Office Campus, located at 1133 Lake Washington Blvd. N. on the edge of Lake Washington, is set for delivery in first quarter 2019. Developed by SECO Development, the project will ultimately include three 9-story office buildings comprising 727,634 square feet of Class A office space, 30,000 square feet of on-campus retail space (with direct access to 600,00 more square feet of retail at The Landing), multiple indoor/outdoor meeting and collaboration spaces and access to 16 outdoor spaces and rooftop terraces.
In early May 2018, SECO Development celebrated the “topping off” ceremony for the office portion of the Southport campus, which already includes the 383-unit Bristol Residences and the 347-room Hyatt Regency Lake Washington hotel. And in spite of the addition of nearly 728,000 square feet of office space, SECO has future plans in the works to continue transforming the waterfront. The developer has conceptual plans to develop another roughly 1 million square feet of office and retail on the 11-acre industrial site adjacent to the Southport property.
Griffis Residential owns and manages approximately 8,000 apartment homes in markets throughout Colorado, Nevada, Texas, California and Washington, according to the company’s web site. Along with the recently-acquired Renton asset, the company’s other Puget Sound region properties include Griffis Seattle South in Federal Way, as well as Griffis North Creek Bothell and the Griffis Belltown property in Seattle.
The sales price of $143 million paid for the Reserve Apartments dwarfs another apartment sale that occurred in Renton earlier this year. On June 15th, California-based MIG Real Estate acquired the 260-Unit Becket Apartments located at 12000 SE Petrovitsky Road for $58.7 million, or approximately $225,769 per unit, from New York-based Abacus Capital Group.
Elsewhere throughout the Puget Sound region, there have been a number of large-scale apartment sales in recent weeks. In early August, Canada-based Low Tide Properties purchased the 147-Unit Voda Apartments in Downtown Kirkland for $89.5 million, or roughly $608,843 per unit, from Bellevue-based Continental Properties. In mid-August, RISE Properties Trust acquired the 135-unit Modera Capitol Hill Apartments in Seattle for $69 million, or approximately $511,111 per unit, from Dallas-based Mill Creek Residential. And in late August, FPA Multifamily sold the 543-Unit Alturas @ Burien Apartments in Burien for $85.5 million, or close to $157,460 per unit. More recently on September 13th, Kennedy Wilson sold the 230-Unit Carvel at Harbour Pointe Apartments in Mukilteo for $69.25 million from the Snohomish County Housing Authority.
Fairfield Residential, founded in 1985, manages 43,300 units nationwide across luxury new construction and renovated apartment homes in urban and suburban infill neighborhoods and tax credit affordable housing properties, according to the company’s web site. Since its founding, Fairfield has developed or acquired over 865 multifamily communities comprising over 250,600 apartment homes with equity of over $6.8 billion.
Fairfield Residential was last active in the Puget Sound region in late 2017. In mid-December 2017, the company purchased the upper mall portion, or Phase II of the under-construction Village at Totem Lake project in Kirkland for $42.7 million from California-based CenterCal Properties. When complete in late 2019 or early 2020, the mixed-use development located at 12560-12632 120th Ave. NE will ultimately comprise 44,197 square feet of retail and restaurant space, a 35,000 square foot luxury movie theater and 650 luxury apartments.