In what is believed to the largest multifamily complex sale along the Gulf Coast in at least the past decade, a 936-unit apartment community in Fort Myers sold for $95.2 million.
Starwood Capital Group acquired Gulfstream Isles Apartments as part of a larger strategy to buy apartments at a time when homeownership rates are historically low and the residual effects of the past decade's foreclosure crisis still linger.
In all, Greenwich, Conn.-based Starwood controls more than 90,000 apartment units nationwide, according to its website.
“Gulfstream Isles is the largest apartment community in Southwest Florida, and the sale of the property illustrates that the capital markets view the region's growth prospects very favorably,” says Matt Mitchell, senior managing director with commercial real estate brokerage firm Holliday Fenoglio Fowler L.P., who, together with firm executive managing director Matthew Lawton, represented Waterton in the sale.
Waterton, a Chicago-based investment firm that owns more than $4.2 billion in apartment projects and hotels, had owned Gulfstream Isles since buying it for $42.5 million in June 1998, according to Lee County property records.
Lee County's population grew by 58% between 2000 and 2015, according to census figures, and the county is projected to be the fastest-growing area in Florida through 2045, when its population is expected to top 1.114 million.
Built in three phases beginning in 1986, Gulfstream Isles is a 39-acre rental community of 42 buildings at 1601 Red Cedar Drive, not too far from historic downtown Fort Myers and near upscale shopping and entertainment.
The community is 95% occupied. Amenities include four swimming pools, tennis courts, dog parks, a children's playground, a fitness center, media room and business center, and a coffee shop.
Starwood Capital, one of the nation's largest commercial real estate investment firms with more than $53 billion in assets under management, operates a wide range of real estate-related businesses, including the Westin and Sheraton hotel brands and residential builder TRI Pointe homes.
The company also is the parent to Lakewood Ranch-based Starwood Land Ventures, which buys land and develops sites to sell to homebuilders.
Earlier this year, in a deal with Equity Residential, Starwood spent $5.4 billion to purchase a portfolio of 23,262 apartment units in 72 U.S. metropolitan areas.