Gelt Inc. has sold Westhills Apartment Homes in Lakewood, Colo., for $92 million to an undisclosed seller. The Los Angeles-based investment company purchased the property in September 2016 for $66 million, according to Yardi Matrix data, and invested $11 million through interior and amenity upgrades.
Located at 453 Van Gordon St., the 400-unit Westhills offers two studios, 108 one-bedroom and 290 two-bedroom units spread throughout 27 buildings on a 16.2 acre site. According to Yardi Matrix data, the property is 97 percent occupied and tenants pay an average rent of $1,420.
Jeff Harris, partner at Gelt, said they came across Westhills in 2016 and viewed it as a well-located, value-add opportunity in a Denver submarket with strong numbers. But as the property was built in 1972, Gelt infused $11 million into the property that went towards significant interior upgrades to 26 percent of the units, clubhouse improvements, a revamp of the dog park, the addition of barbecue and fire pit areas, upgrades to the gym, and new siding, roofs and asphalt. Gelt said the previous owners, who were FPA Multifamily according to Yardi Matrix data, previously upgraded 33 percent of the units.
Noah Nudell, Gelt’s vice president of asset management, said they were interested in Denver as a market because it was a hotbed for growth in different industries, particularly the tech sector. With Westhills, Gelt also considered the fact that it’s located near several employers like the Denver Federal Center, St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Lakewood Technology Center, Red Rocks Community College and the Colorado Mills Mall. The property is also within walking distance to the Federal Center Light Rail Station.
DENVER’S BOOMING MARKET According to Yardi Matrix’s summer report on the Denver multifamily market, the metro has transformed into one with a highly educated workforce and business-friendly environment that has led to strong market fundamentals.
Denver drew in a bunch of tech employers including Accelo, Amazon, Facebook and Apple, who committed to adding hundreds of more positions in Boulder, Colo., and doubling its footprint by 2022, according to the report. The Denver market saw 37,500 jobs added year-over-year ending in March, with 15,300 of them being professional and business services.
The steadily growing workforce has led to more demand and rents rising, as rents increased 1.8 percent year-over-year through May, hitting an average rent of $1,545, according to the report.
Danny Orland, Gelt’s director of investments, said the company will use the money from selling Westhills to reinvest in the region and other key employment nodes throughout the US. Orland and Josh Satin, Gelt’s director of acquisitions, will lead the efforts for Gelt’s next acquisition.