A New York-based private equity manager and investment adviser keeps accumulating South Florida multifamily properties — this time with the help of Berkadia.
Axonic Properties LLC bought the 300-unit Visions at Willow Pond, formerly Viera of Palm Beaches, at 4860 Sand Stone Lane south of West Palm Beach for $48.5 million from the joint venture of Angelo Gordon and McDowell Properties.
Axonic borrowed $35.8 million to cover 70 percent of the purchase price and plans to spend $1.6 million on renovations.
A Berkadia team played a dual role in the deal, closing both the trade and financing Dec. 7.
Senior director Tal Frydman, director Yoav Yuhjtman and associate director Nicholas Perrone, all based in Boca Raton, closed the trade on behalf of both the sellers and buyer. Senior director Bradley Williamson in Miami secured the financing on behalf of Axonic.
This was a value-add investment, meaning Axonic plans renovations and higher rents at the 1987-built property and a likely resale in a few years.
“There’s more meat on the bone versus a Class A property that’s brand new, and there’s not really any value that you can typically add to something that’s brand new,” Williamson said. “Typically, a Class A deal at an infill location trades at a lower cap rate resulting in lower yield, and a B-class property trades at a higher cap rate. Since this property is not brand new, there’s opportunities to renovate it and bring it up to a higher standard … which can command higher rent.”
Axonic managing principal Jonathan Shechtman said he didn’t have information yet on any expected rent hikes. The average rent now is $1,250 a month, he said.
“This assets fits in perfectly with our firm’s strategy, and we think Palm Beach County is an area that will continue to grow at a faster pace than other areas in Florida,” he said.
Axonic has accumulated a residential portfolio in South and Southwest Florida. Its holdings include other garden-style apartment communities like the 200-unit Wild Pines and the 456-unit Laguna Bay, both in Naples, and the 343-unit Palm Hill Condominiums in West Palm Beach, according to its website. All were purchased within the past two years and added to the company’s Florida holdings.
“Axonic has been extremely active in Florida and Southwest Florida,” Williamson said.
The Latest deal breaks down to $161,667 per unit.
The financing secured by Williamson is a four-year, floating-rate, nonrecourse loan, he said. It provides for three years interest only. He declined to disclose the lender.
This deal was aided by Berkadia’s experience with the buyer, seller and property.
Frydman and Yuhjtman in 2016 closed the $36.35 million trade of the property on behalf of both the seller and buyer.
Berkadia also worked on behalf of Axonic in its purchase of Palm Hill in West Palm Beach.
The Visions property between North Military Trail and Florida’s Turnpike went through a previous revamp, including adding granite counter and stainless steel appliances to all units, Frydman said. Then, Angelo Gordon and McDowell Properties renovated 25 units, adding a $150 premium to rents, and Axonic is to complete the renovations.
“Value-added deals are getting the most amount of attention in South Florida,” Frydman said. “Whereas a Class A deal is brand new, you might be able to push the rent, but there’s really not a whole lot to do to push the value. There’s nothing to upgrade,”
This deal also speaks of the continuing strength of suburban properties despite a development push largely focusing in the urban cores.
One advantage was Visions was 95 percent occupied at the time of sale.
Demand for garden-style apartments is fueled in part by residents who want something less than premium downtown rents, Frydman said.
“Obviously you are not in downtown West Palm Beach where you have rents that are significantly higher, but you have a lot of tenants working in the downtown area that want a reasonable rent and not have to pay the top-dollar rent for all the new construction in downtown West Palm Beach,” he said. “This is maybe 10-15 minutes away. It gives more reasonable rent for the average person not looking to overpay.”
Berkadia put together a market analysis for New York-based Angelo Gordon and Dallas-based McDowell Properties that showed now was the time to sell, Frydman said.
“When the buyer Axonic came and toured the property … they had a significant interest in the deal and came in with very strong terms,” Frydman said. “The sellers took their offer.”