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January 24, 2019
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L5 Investments, MLA Properties and BH Equities Team Up in 360-Unit Phoenix Multifamily


Cielo Apartments, a 360-unit apartment community in Phoenix, was acquired for $27.2 mil ($75.6k/unit) by a partnership between L5 Investments, MLA Properties and BH Equities. The complex was 91% occupied at the time of closing.

Built in 1981, Cielo is situated on 10.52 acres at 8222 North 19th Ave. It has a mix of studio, one-, and two-bedroom units with sizes ranging in from 455 sf to 879 sf. The units feature fully equipped kitchens, and private patios or balconies. Some units offer vaulted ceilings and fireplaces. The community’s on-site amenities include two pools, a newly renovated clubhouse and fitness center, picnic/barbeque area and covered parking.

Located approximately 10 miles from downtown Phoenix, Cielo is well served by nearby retail and restaurant amenities and provides excellent access to Interstate 17, Loop 101, and State Route 51. Residents benefit from having the METRO Light Rail at their front door, providing an alternative to commuting to school, work or visiting attractions around the Valley.

The buyers plan on executing an extensive $4.16 mil capital improvement plan to increase occupancy and attract and retain residents seeking a quality, amenity-rich and well-located rental community with easy access to light rail transit. The renovation plan will focus on updating unit interiors including flooring, cabinets, lighting, appliances, and adding in-unit washers and dryers in select one bedroom and two-bedroom units.

“Although Cielo is in excellent condition overall, it needs a significant amount of key amenity and interior upgrades in order to help meet the demands of the renter base in the Phoenix area,” said Michael Flaherty, founder and managing partner of L5 Investments, an El Dorado Hills, CA-based multifamily investment firm. “These interior and exterior improvements will ultimately enhance the property’s marketability, help retain residents for longer periods of time, and obtain market rents.”

The property is located six and a half miles south of Northern Arizona University’s North Valley campus and six and a half miles east of its Glendale campus. Phoenix is also home to Grand Canyon University, which enrolls over 15,500 full and part-time students at the main campus less than three miles from the property. The downtown campuses of Arizona State University (11,000 students enrolled) and the University of Arizona (630 students enrolled) are located southeast of the community, offering convenient accessibility to the state’s largest institutions for higher education.

For the past two decades, Phoenix has been consistently ranked as one of the fastest growing U.S. economies and was recently ranked #3 for high tech job growth. In addition, Phoenix was ranked #5 for “The Best Cities for Young Professionals” by Forbes in 2017. Phoenix earned two national distinctions with U.S. Census Bureau numbers released in 2017: Fifth-largest city and fastest-growing city.

Brett Polachek and Jim Crews of Cushman and Wakefield represented both the buyer and the seller in the off-market transaction.

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