Grubb’s Plans for Community Next to Repurposed GMAC Building

Probably the highest-profile project in Winston-Salem that isn’t in the Innovation Quarter is the repurposing of the old GMAC Insurance Building at 500 W. 5th Street. As part of that project, Grubb Properties is constructing a five-story mixed-use building that will include 224 apartments. Here are some of the details of their plans as described in an article in the Winston-Salem Journal:

Grubb has announced plans for a $48 million, five-story mixed-use facility that will stretch to the boundaries of Fourth and Poplar streets. It will contain a mini dog park and an adjacent “pocket park” off North Spruce Street.

Thomas said the plans include having five stories fronting on Fourth Street with retail on the first floor and four stories on the side adjacent to the 500 West Fifth Street tower...

Grubb has committed to making 5% of the apartments affordable to people making up to 90 percent of area median income, and 25 percent of the apartments having rents affordable by people making up to 110 percent of the median.

Organization That Owns 10 Triad Shopping Centers Buys First Apartment Community

A New Jersey-based company currently owns ten shopping centers in the Piedmont Triad and has now entered the apartment market with the purchase of a Winston-Salem property. From the Triad Business Journal:

The Bedrin Organization, which owns 10 Triad shopping centers, has purchased Hilltop House Apartments in downtown Winston-Salem for $17.75 from retired Wachovia Corp. CEO and chairman L.M. “Bud” Baker in a deal that closed Monday…

The 169-unit community at 241 S. Cherry St., includes three buildings, and has an interesting history. The first building was built in 1962 as a Holiday Inn, later became a Best Western and was converted into 54 units in 2011 and 2012. The 50-room North Tower was built in 2012. The 65-unit South Tower was built in 2014 using pre-fabricated pod components.

“We are excited about where downtown Winston-Salem is going, with the arts and the culture that is there, with the Innovation Quarter,” said Garret Bedrin, who oversees acquisitions, leasing and investor relations for the New Jersey-based family company. “We want to make sure that there is a reasonably priced option for housing downtown.”

Sale of Winston-Salem Apartment Community Continues Trend

The recent sale of Towergate Apartments continues a trend of apartment purchases by companies from outside the region. From the Winston-Salem Journal:

Another Forsyth County apartment complex has been sold to an out-of-region buyer, this time Towergate Apartments in Winston-Salem for $10.94 million.

The buyer is Ginkgo Towergate LLC of Charlotte, and the seller is Towergate Associates LLC of Winston-Salem, according to a Forsyth County Register of Deeds filing Tuesday. The deal closed Tuesday….

The complex was built in 1985 and has 259 units within 25 buildings on 14.65 acres.

The sale is the latest of a recent spree of apartment complex purchases in the county…

Other recent apartment complex sales include: the 209-unit Carolina Woods in Winston-Salem for $11.5 million; 213-unit Loxley Chase in Winston-Salem selling for $16.25 million; 234-unit Morgan Place in Clemmons for $14.3 million; 204-unit Twin City Townhomes in Winston-Salem for $10.15 million; 144-unit Salem Crest in Winston-Salem for $7.5 million; 96-unit Woodlawn in Winston-Salem for $3.5 million; and the 49-unit apartment complex at 1976 Maryland Ave. in Winston-Salem for $1.45 million.

Zumper: Triad Rents Among the Nation’s Lowest

According to a report released by Zumper, rents in Greensboro and Winston-Salem were among the lowest in the 100 markets they surveyed. From an article in the Triad Business Journal:

Of 100 U.S. cities surveyed, Greensboro was No. 88 with average monthly rent of $720 for one-bedroom unit ($820 for two bedrooms). The prices reflected a 5.9 percent yearly increase for one bedroom and a 3.8 percent jump for two bedrooms.

Winston-Salem, which was No. 78 on the list at $780 ($840 for two bedrooms), has experienced a larger spike in rent prices, with increases of 9.9 percent and 10.5 percent, respectively…

Charlotte ($1,160 and $1,310) ranked No. 33; Durham ($1,110 and $1,270) was No. 43; and Raleigh ($1,000 and $1,150) was No. 48.

Carolina Woods Latest in a String of Winston-Salem Apartment Transactions

The Winston-Salem Journal ran a fairly in-depth article on the sale of Carolina Woods and the plans the new owner has for the community. Here’s a taste:

The Carolina Woods apartment community near Bethabara Park will go through a major renovation initiative as part of its new owner’s push into the North Carolina and Southeast metro markets…

Weiss owns and manages more than 600 multifamily units, more than 20,000 square feet of commercial space, and an 89-room boutique hotel, banquet hall and restaurant.

However, until it closed on the Carolina Woods community, all of its investments were in New Jersey and New York.”

The article also had an interesting bit of info about all of the apartment transactions in Winston-Salem over the last six months:

“The others include: 213-unit Loxley Chase in Winston-Salem selling for $16.25 million; 234-unit Morgan Place in Clemmons for $14.3 million; 204-unit Twin City Townhomes in Winston-Salem for $10.15 million; 144-unit Salem Crest in Winston-Salem for $7.5 million; 96-unit Woodlawn in Winston-Salem for $3.5 million; and the 49-unit apartment complex at 1976 Maryland Ave. in Winston-Salem for $1.45 million. “

One-Off or Early Signs of a Trend?

Those of us who were around pre-Great Recession can remember a time when it was relatively commonplace for apartment communities to be converted to condos. Then the mother of all recessions happened and rental housing became the most lucrative, and safest, real estate game in town and we stopped seeing those conversions – if anything we saw condos converting to rental units.

That’s what makes the news of this move in Winston-Salem pretty interesting. From a story in the Triad Business Journal:

Winston-Salem investors Ben Bloodworth and Taylor Williams purchased the 836 Oak Street Lofts apartments in downtown Winston-Salem for $2.75 million with plans to convert the 26 apartments in the former mill facility into condos.

The purchase included 1.22 undeveloped acres adjacent to the apartments.

Bloodworth told Triad Business Journal that all current leases would be honored, and the units would be upfitted and sold as the leases expire.

Downtown Winston-Salem is experiencing a boom of new housing, retail, restaurants and entertainment with the growth of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, including the Bailey Power Plant, and the office renovation projects at the GMAC tower.

Downtown Winston-Salem is a particularly hot market in the Triad right now, so this might portend a larger trend across the region, but it will be interesting to see if other investors follow suit, especially in the downtown markets of the Triad’s cities.

Beverly Hills Company Buys Two Triad Properties for $14.6 Million

A Beverly Hills-based company has entered the Triad market with acquisitions in Winston-Salem. From a story in the Triad Business Journal:

A Beverly Hills, California, real estate investment firm has purchased adjacent Triad apartment communities for a combined $14.6 million, and is rebranding them under one name.

Evan Goldenberg, the principal of EBEX Holdings, told Triad Business Journal that The Ledges and 96 Ardsley, located along Ardsley Street in Winston-Salem’s Ardmore neighborhood, would be combined for rebranding as “The Residences at Diamond Ridge.”

Goldenberg said the purchases from LLCs managed by Charles Douthit of Raleigh are EBEX’s first in the Triad. He told TBJ that he has at least one other Triad apartment deal in the works, but is not ready to announce it. EBEX owns the 348-unit Arcadian Village apartments in Charlotte and two 100-unit complexes in Spartanburg, S.C.

Wellington Advisors will manage Diamond Ridge.

433-Unit Community in Winston-Salem Sold to Colorado Company

The Triad Business Journal reported that Interurban Companies of Centennial, CO has purchased The View at 5010, a 433-unit apartment community located off of University Parkway south of Shattalon Drive. Interurban bought the community from Elite Street Capital (Houston, TX) for $26.3 million, and Elite Street paid $19.49 million for the community, then known as Ambercrest, in December 2016.

Synco Properties will manage The View at 5010, and assistant property manager Mark Longwill told the Business Journal that the new owners will continue with renovations that Elite Street Capital had started.

PTAA Members Briefed on Planned Business 40 Closure in Winston-Salem

Representatives from NCDOT met with PTAA members in Winston-Salem to provide them with information about the closure of Business 40 for construction. While work on the project began last year, the closure of all lanes of traffic between Peters Creek Parkway on the west, and US 52 on the east, isn’t expected until Fall of 2018.

 

At that point, the major access points to downtown Winston-Salem will include:

From the east:

  • MLK Jr. Blvd exit off of Business 40 east of US 52
  • US 52 north to MLK Jr. Blvd or Liberty St
  • US 52 south to Research Parkway

From the west:

  • Peters Creek Parkway
  • Main Street north from Silas Creek Parkway
  • Academy from Peters Creek Parkway

NCDOT’s representatives were able to answer questions from attendees about the anticipated impact the construction will have on downtown businesses and residents; address concerns about whether the project will be completed on time; advise them on how to educate their prospects and residents about the project.

You can request a full copy of NCDOT’s presentation slides by emailing PTAA staff at info AT piedmonttaa.org.

Is Condo Conversion Early Sign of a New Trend?

Since the great recession the primary residential real estate story has been the conversion of, well, everything to apartments. Historic buildings, existing commercial, condos, etc.  We have not, however, seen any apartments converted to condos over the last 10 years, but that might be getting ready to change.

The Triad Business Journal reported that the Oak Street Lofts apartments in Winston-Salem will be converted to condos as existing leases begin to expire. From the story:

Bloodworth told Triad Business Journal that all current leases would be honored, and the units would be upfitted and sold as the leases expire.

Downtown Winston-Salem is experiencing a boom of new housing, retail, restaurants and entertainment with the growth of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter, including the Bailey Power Plant, and the office renovation projects at the GMAC tower.

Bloodworth said the one- and two-bedroom condos, each of which has a unique layout, is planned to sell for between $165,000 and $275,000.

“This is irreplaceable real estate and we are excited to offer these updated condos for sale at this price point,” Bloodworth said.

So is this the first indication that we might be seeing a shift in the local multifamily market? There’s no way to tell, but this 2011 article from Multifamily Executive might help explain why it’s worth watching:

But simple economics also points to an emerging cost-of-housing dichotomy that has traditionally been the undoing of the apartment operator: Rents are going up, and condo prices are coming down. If the cyclical nature of multifamily construction proves out, the endgame of that dichotomy means renters will slowly leave apartments to purchase condo units, and builders and investors will chase them down, attempting to convert rental buildings into condos along the way. 

Interestingly, the article, which was written just as the apartment industry was entering into its historic growth period, accurately predicted that a trend towards condo conversion wasn’t likely to happen in the near future. Seven years later, with the cost of ownership solidly below the cost of renting, we might finally see the chilling of the apartment market. But, given the fact that the apartment boom has consistently defied historic precedents over the last seven years that’s not a sure thing at all.