Domain Expands (Again) to Phoenix
For JD Golden, you can go home again. At least when those homes are big swaths of multifamily properties. Houston-based Domain Communities has returned as landlords to the Phoenix multifamily market with the recent purchase of Autumn Ridge, a massive 672-unit Class-B apartment complex off West Thunderbird Road. It marks a return of Domain, which owned more than 1,500 units at its height in Phoenix before selling the portfolios off just before the recession (a stroke of foresight that means taking JD with you to Vegas is a good strategy). JD tells us this is a clear value-add investment. The company paid $35.9M and has plans to invest another $5M-plus to rehab the interiors of the units.
JD says improvements could easily give Autumn Ridge, with rents now around $.79/SF range, a 15% or better bump on the per SF rents. “It really needs to be renovated, and to burn off the concessions, which is well on the way anyway,” he says. After selling and moving from Phoenix in 2008, JD ended up in Texas, where he invested in apartments there (and a stronger economy through the recession). But, JD notes, “I've been keeping an eye on this market the whole time.” And when institutional investors started betting on Phoenix again, JD knew the time had come to return.
Over the past year, JD has been a net seller in Texas, most recently selling the legendary Chateaux Dijon (once the bachelor apartment for President George Bush) in Houston's Galleria area. And now his money and his targets have returned to the Arizona market, where he feels he could easily return to owning 4,000 units before all is said and done. Most recently, he has 400 units in Mesa under contract and more than 350 under contract in Tuscon. When he left Phoenix in 2009, it was a very depressed market, he says. Now he sees much more excitement: "There's a buoyant mood among owners, residents and vendors. You can just see and feel it.”