New York buyer picks up Northside apartments

The 103-unit Spectrum apartment property at 2017 Brook Road was sold for $11.4 million.

The 103-unit Spectrum apartment property at 2017 Brook Road was sold for $11.4 million.

Joining a growing list of out-of-town investors tapping into the local real estate market, a New York firm has marked its entry into Richmond with the purchase of a Northside apartment complex.

Mercer Street Partners purchased the 103-unit Spectrum apartment property at 2017 Brook Road for $11.4 million. The real estate investment firm closed on the property Feb. 17, confirmed Joe LeVine, a managing partner and co-founder.

LeVine said it’s the group’s first major purchase since forming about a year ago, and its first in Richmond.

“We’ve been looking in Richmond since last summer,” LeVine said. “It’s a great market with a lot happening.”

Constructed in 2015, The Spectrum was pitched four years ago as a private student housing development by Kansas-based Lombardy VU Realty, the seller in the deal. The 2-acre property, across Brook Road from Virginia Union University, was most recently assessed at $12.9 million, according to city tax records.

Richmond-based Dodson Property Management is set to manage the property and handle leasing.

LeVine said 25 to 30 percent of the units are occupied by college students, most attending VUU. He said the university has leases for about a dozen units – an arrangement the investment group hopes to maintain in the future.

“The Spectrum provides a strong value proposition to us and the community,” LeVine said. “We want to be good neighbors with VUU.”

The complex includes a mix of one-, two- and three-bedroom units. Each apartment includes hardwood floors, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and in-unit laundry.

LeVine said the firm plans to improve common areas and add amenities such as a dog-run park, fire pit and grilling area this year. He said it also will address deferred maintenance issues.

Mercer Street’s purchase adds to recent investment in the area north of Interstate 64 and along Brook Road and Chamberlayne Avenue.

Last week, Spy Rock Real Estate Group secured zoning approval for a 200-unit apartment project that principal Andrew Basham described as affordable workforce housing. The complex would be built on 5 acres at 1207 and 1207-A School Street, just south of The Spectrum.

On the other side of Chamberlayne, production studio Spang TV moved into the neighborhood last year.

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