A group of Chinese investors has purchased the $45 million Ridgeline at Rogers Ranch apartment complex on the North Side — the latest of several investments made by foreign groups in San Antonio’s booming multifamily market.
Embrey Partners, the local development firm that built the 299-unit complex, sold it last month to Benimax, an Atlanta-based real estate firm that is largely led by Chinese executives and gets much of its financing from Chinese investors, said Pat Jones, vice chairman for central Texas at ARA Newmark, which brokered the transaction.
Jones declined to share the purchase price. The 15.8-acre apartment complex, at the crossing of Loop 1604 and Happys Round Road, was assessed at $45 million this year, according to the Bexar Appraisal District.
Benimax took out a $39.6 million loan from Berkadia, a joint venture that includes Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, to complete the transaction, property records show.
Jones said he is seeing more interest from foreign investors in local multifamily properties. He believes that San Antonio’s strong job and population growth, as well as its low prices compared with the East and West coasts, appeal to the investors.
“They’re looking at fast-growing cities in the United States, in the Sun Belt,” Jones said. “What we see a lot of is Denver, Austin-San Antonio, Dallas, Houston, and then the Carolinas and Florida. Those are all high employment-growth states, in-migration states.”
Benimax, which owns about 35 properties in Atlanta, first entered the local market last year when it purchased the $45.7 million Overlook Exchange apartments on the Northwest Side, Jones said. Sun Holdings Group, a Houston-based company that largely raises capital from Israeli investors and has purchased several properties in San Antonio, was also interested in the Ridgeline complex, Jones said.
Canada-based Pure Multi-Family REIT has also been investing in San Antonio’s multifamily market, Jones said. Another Canadian firm, Starlight U.S. Multi-Family, bought the Boardwalk Med Center apartment complex on the Northwest Side in fall 2016 and has looked for other deals.
Representatives of Embrey and Benimax didn’t respond to requests for comment.
The sale of Ridgeline, which finished construction last year, is one of the largest in a surge of multifamily acquisitions in San Antonio that has occurred over the last few years.
In March, San Francisco firm FPA Multifamily bought the $102 million, 539-unit Éilan Luxury Residences. Also that month, Chicago real estate firm Accend Companies bought the $70 million Flats at Big Tex complex in Southtown.
The apartment market north of Loop 1604 has been thriving, due to that area’s booming population and job growth, as well as the abundance of retail and other amenities around The Rim and Shops at La Cantera.
The Ridgeline complex is “equidistant from Stone Oak, which is a great neighborhood and employment center, and the intersection of I-10 and 1604, which is a nucleus of A-class retail and entertainment,” Jones said.
Benimax has bought more than 5,000 multifamily units in the Atlanta area since it was founded in 2013, according to its website.
“Benimax’s disciplined approach to real estate investment allows for significant return on investment for its limited partners,” the company says on its website.
Richard Webner is a San Antonio Express-News staff writer. Read more of his stories here. | firstname.lastname@example.org | @RWebner