Greystar Real Estate Partners and The Praedium Group have purchased the 631-unit Lincoln Shores apartment community in St. Petersburg, Fla., for $24.2 million, or about $38,300 per unit. The joint venture deal closed in January.

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but property records show a deed transfer for $24.2 million between seller Lincoln Shores Apartments Investors LLC and Lincoln Shores Associates LLC, the acquiring joint venture entity, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Lincoln Shores Associates took out an $18.1 million mortgage with Amerisphere Multifamily Finance LLC to help fund the deal. The property was 95% occupied at the time of the sale.

Built in 1984, Lincoln Shores sits on over 52 acres on 4th St. North, in the Gateway Corridor of St Petersburg. Lincoln Shores is the second apartment acquisition Greystar has made in Florida in the past few months. In December, Greystar acquired Viridian Lakes and the Beach Club, two properties totaling 640 units in Ft. Myers.

“The Tampa-St. Petersburg apartment market has been very hard hit over the past three years,” said Mark Hafner, managing director at Greystar, in a prepared statement.

“However, we began to see the velocity of the performance decline in our portfolio decrease in the summer and have since seen same-store occupancies increase across most of the 5,000 units we manage in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market,” added Hafner.

With virtually no multifamily or single-family housing supply coming on line, Hafner believes the Tampa apartment market is poised for a robust recovery over the next several years.

Headquartered in Charleston, S.C., Greystar manages 152,000 units in over 50 markets. Greystar has invested approximately $3 billion in multifamily properties since its inception in 1993.

The Praedium Group invests in under-performing and under-valued assets throughout North America. The investment group’s $7 billion in total investments since 1994 include 275 transactions comprised of 45 million sq. ft. of commercial space and 55,100 multifamily units.

The apartment acquisition is Praedium’s first joint venture with Greystar. "This investment was very attractive to us, in part due to its stabilized occupancy, excellent physical condition and central location within the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg market,” said David Dowell, vice president at New York-based Praedium.

“We believe a renewed focus on management will allow us to enhance property value and remain competitive as the market recovers,” added Dowell.

The Praedium Group’s commingled real estate private equity funds have attracted investors that include public and corporate pension funds, financial institutions, insurance companies and endowments.

Praedium is currently investing its $900 million real estate private equity fund, Praedium Fund VII, and has been active in the region. “We’ve had a presence in Florida since the early ’90s and expect to see several more opportunities in 2010,” said Mark Lippmann, director and head of Praedium’s southern region.

In September, Praedium acquired a 13 building office/flex park in Orlando. Praedium Fund VII has the purchasing power to acquire over $2 billion in real estate assets.