ATLANTA—Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) has closed the acquisition of three multifamily communities in Austell, Ga., on behalf of an affiliate of Atlanta-based H.J. Russell & Company and its New York City-based partner, Civitas Communities. In its first transaction together, the buyers acquired the assets from QR Capital, an Atlanta investment group, for nearly $20 million.

The three Cobb County properties, comprising a total of nearly 500 multifamily units, are located 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta and in proximity to each other along Six Flags Drive, minutes away from Six Flags Over Georgia, the largest regional theme park in the Southeast. Occupancy across the portfolio averages nearly 95 percent. The properties include:

  • Parkview Atlanta Apartments, a 144-unit complex (360 Six Flags Drive SW)

  • Kingsley Village Apartments, a 146-unit complex (595 Six Flags Drive SW)

  • Hunter’s Grove Apartments, a 200-unit complex (575 Six Flags Drive SW)

“These communities are literally right down the street from the Six Flags amusement park. We’re going to enhance the value of these assets and perhaps develop additional properties along that corridor,” said Jerome Russell, president of H.J. Russell & Company and of Russell New Urban Development. Mr. Russell’s family-owned real estate companies own more than 7,300 apartment units in properties across the country.

Rod Mullice, senior managing director at NGKF in Atlanta, represented the buyer and arranged the debt in the transaction. Mr. Mullice placed nearly $9 million of debt with Citizen’s Trust Bank of Atlanta and managed a $3 million loan assumption from Walker and Dunlop.

“These are solid B properties that will perform even better under H.J. Russell & Company's sophisticated management team,” Mr. Mullice said. “The communities are positioned to enjoy a boost in residential demand from an ongoing expansion at Six Flags Over Georgia, and are also close to the Fulton Industrial Corridor, a major employment center and the chief logistics hub serving Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.”

Civitas Communities is headed by former Wall Street executives Derrick Barker and Charles Cole. Messrs. Barker and Cole, classmates at Harvard University, were approached by Mr. Russell more than a year ago and have since formed a partnership with the goal of acquiring thousands of well-performing multifamily units with upside through efficient management, community services programming and nearby development opportunities.

“This is my company’s first acquisition since the recession,” Mr. Russell said. “We and our partners at Civitas are pleased with this first venture together and we hope to announce similar transactions in the months ahead.”

The seller, QR Capital, had acquired the assets from a lender following the 2009 bankruptcy of the previous owner. QR completed substantial renovations at the three properties in 2010 and 2011.

About H.J. Russell & Company

For more than 60 years, H.J. Russell & Company has consolidated its reputation as a developer of institutional quality projects throughout the nation and as a best-in-class manager of multifamily assets. The company has developed and manages more than 7,300 apartment units. With its headquarters in Atlanta and offices in Texas, North Carolina and Alabama, the company has projects in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago, Denver, Dallas, and New Jersey. Additionally, the company’s pristine reputation and track record of success is evident in marquee projects including the Georgia Dome, the Olympic Centennial Park, and Turner Field.

About Civitas Communities

Civitas Communities, an up and coming real estate private equity firm has invested in the residential (single family and multifamily space) since 2010. Civitas Communities aims to be the leading provider of family oriented communities in urban and suburban employment centers through partnerships with local non-profits, government agencies and local community stakeholders. Civitas Communities acquires, manages and repositions properties in growing, institutional core and nearby secondary markets in close proximity to employment and retail centers with a focus on creating healthy environments for underserved tenants. Partners are graduates of Harvard University and have more than a decade of collective work experience in the financial services, real estate and consulting industries.

About Newmark Grubb Knight Frank

Newmark Grubb Knight Frank (NGKF) is one of the world's leading commercial real estate advisory firms. Together with its affiliates and London-based partner Knight Frank, NGKF employs more than 12,000 professionals, operating from more than 320 offices in established and emerging property markets on five continents.

With roots dating back to 1929, NGKF's strong foundation makes it one of the most trusted names in commercial real estate. Its integrated services platform includes leasing advisory, global corporate services, investment sales and capital markets, consulting, program and project management, property and facilities management, and valuation services. A major force in the real estate marketplace, NGKF serves the local and global property requirements of tenants, landlords, investors and developers worldwide. For further information, visit www.ngkf.com.

NGKF is a part of BGC Partners, Inc. (NASDAQ: BGCP), a leading global brokerage company primarily servicing the wholesale financial and real estate markets. For further information, visit www.bgcpartners.com.