[caption id="attachment_214877" align="aligncenter" width="865"] The 204-unit complex sold for $43 million, buoying OA Companies' future endeavors. | PHOTO COURTESY OF GOOGLE MAPS[/caption]
MILLSBORO — A Pennsylvania real estate investment firm has bought the Carillon Woods apartments in a $43 million deal, marking one of the largest multi-family sales in the state this year.The 204-unit apartment complex off Indian Mission Road near Route 24 was acquired by the Merion Realty Partners of Wynnewood, Pa. Led by principals William Landman and Richard Aljian, Merion has several holdings in Florida, New Jersey and Connecticut. This marks the first investment in the First State for the vertically integrated investor of multi-family apartments.Carillon Woods was built by Ocean Atlantic (OA) Companies over three years and the seven-building complex was completed in early 2020. It includes one, two, and three-bedroom apartments and amenities like a clubhouse, an outdoor swimming pool, pickleball courts, a dog park and walking trails. Initially, OA Companies looked to market the complex to seniors and retirees, but later decided not to restrict its apartments due to age in order to improve its market position.“We didn’t build to sell, we build all our apartment complexes for the purpose of a long-term hold,” OA Companies Chairman and CEO Preston Schell told the Delaware Business Times. “We sold because the market for these types of projects was very strong at the time and I felt we could achieve an excellent price.”Merion Realty Partners was the highest bid offered, and OA Companies sold Carillon Woods at a 5.4% capitalization rate on trailing 12 months of net operating income.“That’s a great number for our market and it increased the value of all our other projects by being a good comparable that appraisers can use for what these projects are within our area,” Schell said. “Before this sale, no large-scale, professionally managed, market rate, rental apartment complexes had been sold in eastern Sussex.”OA Companies was also concerned about competition, as development in Sussex County continues to push west. Namely, the closest competition would be Tunnell Companies with 514-unit Baywood apartments approved close by. Meanwhile, OA Companies has more than 500 apartment complexes approved between Seaglass in Rehoboth Beach and Weston Willows in east Georgetown. Schell said the company intends to start three more complexes in Sussex County with a combined 630 units.“Selling allowed us to keep all or the vast majority of the ownership of these projects in-house,” he added. “We can reinvest the returns on the sale into these other five projects. Otherwise, we would have had to wait longer to construct one or more of these pipeline projects or bring in outside investors.”The $43 million sale, equating to a per unit rate of more than $210,000, was the second biggest multi-family sale in the state this year behind a $51.5 million sale in Claymont earlier this summer, according to DBT records.Editor's note: This story originally misquoted " good compensation," instead of "good comparable." We regret the error.