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N.J. firm acquires Wilmington, Bear apartments for $26M

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The Portopiccolo Group has acquired Cheltenham Village in Bear for $12 million along with another Wilmington community. | DBT PHOTO BY JACOB OWENS

A New Jersey-based private equity firm recently acquired two affordable housing apartment complexes in Wilmington and Bear for a combined $26 million, according to county land records.

The Portopiccolo Group, based in Englewood Cliffs near New York City, acquired the Clayton Court apartments in Wilmington and Cheltenham Village apartments in Bear from Hockessin-based Delaware Valley Development Company (DVDC) in a Dec. 29 sale.

 The firm paid $14 million for the 100-unit Cheltenham Village, located at 701 Georgetown Building, and $12 million for the 72-unit Clayton Court, located at 502 N. DuPont St., according to land records. That translates into sale prices of $140,000 and $166,000 per unit, respectively.

The 23-year-old DVDC has undertaken a number of acquisition and rehabilitation projects with affordable housing in New Castle County, utilizing Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and state and county funds over the years. It acquired Clayton Court in 2008 for $4.8 million and Cheltenham Village, then-known as Lexington Green, in 2009 for more than $4.2 million, according to land records.

Located in Wilmington’s West End in the shadow of St. Francis Hospital, Clayton Court was rehabbed in 2008. DVDC temporarily relocated a full occupancy of tenants for the work. As Section 8 program housing, rents for the one- to three-bedroom units are based on income eligibility factors.

Meanwhile, DVDC stepped in to complete a stalled rehab project at Cheltenham Village, negotiating for the awarded tax credits and financing to advance it to fruition. The community off Route 7 north of Governor’s Square faced issues with crime at the time, leading DVDC to reduce the density of the community by 25 units. It demolished two buildings, resulting in today’s 100-unit community. Like Clayton Court, rents for its one- to four-bedroom units are based on income eligibility factors.

The recent sales add to a sale of the Cynwyd Club apartments by DVDC last year, which has reduced its number of Delaware communities now to five.

Led by co-founders CEO Simcha Hyman and President Naftali Zanziper, the 6-year-old Portopiccolo has considerably less history in affordable housing, with most of its previously reported investments being in nursing homes. The Washington Post reported last year that Portopiccolo had acquired more than 70 such facilities in nine states.

It appears the firm is now diversifying its portfolio though. It did not respond to a request for comment on the recent Delaware investments, which may be its first in the First State.

“Originally focused on health care services, we have expanded our portfolio to encompass companies specializing in a wide range of products and services, as well as other strategic real estate and business investment opportunities. Our commitment to realizing the growth potential of all our companies permeates through every level of our firm and underscores every strategic investment we make,” the firm writes on its website.

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