Two recent stories about Bell Partners show that the company is not resting on its laurels as it enters 2017. In the first story we learn that Bell rounded out an active 2016 by selling two properties for a total of $100 million:
Greensboro-based Bell Partners Inc. said Wednesday that it completed the sale of two properties in Asheville and Atlanta for a cumulative sale price of more than $100 million in December.
Bell’s sale of the two communities — Biltmore Park in Asheville and Bell Cheshire Bridge in Atlanta, Ga. — bring the total number of transactions made by Bell in 2016 to $1.3 billion. Last year, the company sold 12 properties for $475 million and acquired 12 apartment communities comprised of 3,575 units for $791 million. Bell Partners will retain property management responsibilities for Bell Biltmore Park.
The second story provides a hint at what Bell is looking to do in 2017:
Greensboro-based Bell Partners Inc., one of the nation’s largest apartment investment and management companies, has launched an effort to raise up to $465 million.
According to a Form D filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company has thus far raised $285 million in equity financing from investors for its Bell Institutional Fund VI L.P., with $180 million left to raise. Company officials declined to disclose the reason behind why the firm was raising the funds. Bell Partners in the past has raised equity financing to invest in apartments and senior housing projects…
Bell Partners is raising the financing amid a flurry of recent acquisitions. The company recently completed an acquisition of an Atlanta-area apartment complex in December and two apartment projects in Texas in November.Including those deals, the company eclipsed more than $1.3 billion in transactions in 2016, including both acquisitions and dispositions. The company has completed more than $10 billion of apartment transactions since 2002.
The Triad Business Journal interviewed Bell Partners CEO Jon Bell about his company’s approach to doing deals. Here’s an excerpt:
What’s the secret to doing well when it comes to apartment investment and management?
We focus on larger markets. We believe there’s less risk there. Not to say there’s not money to be made in some smaller markets, but to mitigate risks, we concentrate on larger markets.
Are there any markets in particular your company favors?
We have 12 acquisition markets. They range from Boston in the north to Miami in the south. It stretches west to southern California and includes Washington, D.C.; Austin, Texas; and Denver, Colo. We feel very good about these areas.
What’s your appetite for deals going forward?
I like to say we’re an aggressive seller and a judicious buyer. We’re always looking for good opportunities.
What about the Triad? Any interest in purchasing properties here?
The Triad is a wonderful place to live, but it’s not a target market for us.
The Triad Business Journal has a nice article on Jon Bell’s ascension to the CEO role for the company his father founded 40 years ago.
After seven years as president of the apartment investment and management company his father founded in 1976, Jon Bell has moved up a rung and will begin serving as CEO on Feb. 1.
In that new role, Bell said he’s going to be more focused on the “big picture” and long-term growth of the company, while new President Lili Dunn will be more involved in the day-to-day operation of Greensboro-based Bell Partners.
“The CEO role is more strategic, more big picture, involved with guiding the organization,” Bell told me Wednesday. “We’ve had a lot of evolution at Bell Partners over the past five or 10 years. But we’re just getting started.”
That evolution has included shifting its focus exclusively to high-end multi-family residential complexes in growing markets, a change Bell Partners announced five years ago this month that included rebranding its communities with the Bell name.
You can read the full story here.
Bell Partners recently sold Lincoln Green for $44.1 million but will continue managing the property. From an article in the Triad Business Journal:
A Texas-based firm has purchased one of Greensboro’s largest apartment complexes for $44.1 million.
Lincoln Green, a 616-unit complex located at 2205 New Garden Road, was purchased Thursday by Elite Street Capital, a real estate investment firm located in Houston and Tel Aviv, Israel…
“This disposition is another example of how Bell is rotating out of older assets in smaller markets and targeting newer assets in larger markets,” said Bell Partners spokeswoman Laurenn Wolpoff.
Last month, Bell purchased a 164-unit complex in Marlborough, a suburb of Boston, for an undisclosed price, bringing the total number of units it owns and manages in the Greater Boston suburbs to 844.
Bell Partners recently sold eight properties for $140 million to a New Jersey-based firm and three of those properties are based in the Triad:
A New Jersey-based firm has purchased three Triad apartment complexes from Greensboro-based Bell Partners Inc., an apartment investment and management company, for $67 million.
The sale of Steeplechase at Adams Farm and Park Forest in Greensboro and Deep River Pointe in High Point was part of a larger sale by Bell of eight properties — five in Arkansas — for more than $140 million. Bell Partners will continue managing the North Carolina properties.
According to the article Bell will continue to manage the three Triad properties.
Bell Partners announced today that they, along with DRA Advisors LLC, have sold a portfolio of 20,439 apartments to Lone Star Advisors. From the Triad Business Journal story:
Bell Partners Inc. of Greensboro and DRA Advisors LLC together have sold a portfolio of 20,439 apartments to a global private equity firm for $1.8 billion, the firms announced today.
The portfolio comprises 64 properties across eight states and was acquired by Lone Star Funds, which has U.S. offices in Dallas, New York City and Washington, D.C. Bell will continue to manage the properties…
The deal includes 24 North Carolina properties located in Charlotte, Raleigh, Wilmington, New Bern and Goldsboro. The total portfolio was originally part of a joint venture purchase made by Bell and DRA in 2008, which then included 25,684 apartments spanning 86 properties.
This is one of the largest apartment deals in the country this year, and is likely to be the “biggest” story involving a Triad apartment company in years.
Greensboro-based Bell Partners has hired two operations executives:
Recent hire Gwyneth Coté, currently Bell’s senior vice president of property operations, in January will assume the role of chief operating officer. Current COORobert Slater will become chief administrative officer.
Janice Miner has been hired as senior vice president of operations, and she will also manage Bell Fund and Legacy assets. Current Senior Vice President of Operations Kristin Stanton will continue to manage Bell Joint Venture and Fee-Managed assets. Both will report to Coté.
The changes were prompted as Bell Partners moves into the second phase of its strategic plan, which is designed to shift the company’s focus solely on apartments and become “one of the country’s leading apartment companies,” said Jon Bell, president of Bell Partners.
Bell Partners sold off the last of its senior apartment product:
Greensboro apartment investment firm Bell Partners Inc. has sold the Alta Oakridge property in north Raleigh and the Alta Walk property in Durham, which are also the last remaining independent living facilities in which Bell had an ownership interest…
Nickolay Bochilo, vice president of investment at Bell Partners, stated in a news release that the company has been planning to exit from the senior housing sector and refocus its growth on the multifamily residential market.