A new division of GE Real Estate has acquired a $256 million value-added apartment portfolio from joint owners FirstWorthing Corp. and Principal Financial Consulting. The portfolio consists of 10 apartment properties with 3,532 units and 3.2 million sq. ft. located in Dallas, Atlanta and Austin.

The assets represent FirstWorthing’s entire apartment holdings. The new owner plans to renovate and stabilize many of the apartment properties.

“The FirstWorthing portfolio has a balance of newly built Dallas properties and assets with substantial value-add potential,” says Greg bates, managing director and head of GE Real Estate’s Direct Investments group.

“It offers significant value creation opportunities in markets with strong fundamentals and growth prospects.”

GE Real Estate plans to hold the new properties on its balance sheet and “proactively manage” them. This deal marks the third portfolio purchase by GE Real Estate’s North American Equity division’s Direct Investments Group.

The Direct Investments Group, which buys portfolios independent of equity partners and third-party debt, was just formed in late 2006. The group plans to spend as much as $4 billion on apartment acquisitions this year alone.