Gebroe-Hammer Associates has arranged the $8.5 million disposition of 386 apartment units in three separate complexes in Chester, Pa., a Philadelphia suburb, as part of a court-approved multifamily portfolio sale. The brokerage team of Joseph Brecher and Eli Kessler spearheaded the sale of the three distressed properties.

The undisclosed private buyer already owns several properties in the Chester area. “Because of a simultaneous receivership and note sale, the condition of these properties and involvement of the various legal and financial entities, this transaction was highly complex,” says Brecher of Gebroe-Hammer Associates.

The largest of the three properties is St. James Gardens, a nine-building, 228-unit, two-story garden apartment complex at 314 East 224th St. in Chester. Located on a self-contained cul-de-sac and consisting of 12 efficiencies, 136 one-bedroom and 80 two-bedroom units, the complex has been a popular housing option for students of nearby Widener University and Swarthmore College. Renovation plans include new floors, kitchens, baths, cabinets and heating controls.

Renshaw Terrace Apartments, located at 1300 Renshaw Road, is a three-building, 78-unit garden apartment complex with intercom access. The property includes 62 one-bedroom and 14 two-bedroom units, as well as one efficiency unit and one office unit. All are slated for upgraded common areas, kitchens and baths and new roofs.

Willow Gardens, situated at 1101 Dorian Drive, rounds out the portfolio sale. The seven-building, two-story, 80-unit garden complex features brick-aluminum exteriors and new roofs. Each building contains 12 apartments with semi-private entrances. All of the complexes include on-site parking and on-premises laundry facilities.

“This portfolio acquisition is an example of a unique opportunity in the current market, where financially stable buyers are able to capitalize on underperforming, bank-owned properties to add value over the long term,” says Ken Uranowitz, managing director of Gebroe-Hammer Associates.

The private buyer was able to secure financing because of proven management skills in turnaround properties. The new owner has already begun to implement an aggressive capital improvement and renovation project involving upgrades to the apartments and common areas.

Average market rents in the area range from $575 per month for efficiencies to $675 for one-bedroom units and $775 for two bedrooms.

Gebroe-Hammer Associates possesses more than 36 years of experience in distressed multifamily property sales. In 2010, the Livingston, N.J.-based firm closed more than 25 bank note sales and Section 363 Bankruptcy sales on behalf of several prominent lending institutions and debtors-in-possession.

The company specializes in multifamily, retail and office property investment sales throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.