Eric Hade is looking for a few good apartment complexes, and the youthful vice president of capital markets for Atlanta-based Lane Co. can afford them. In January, the company announced the creation of a $250 million investment fund, in a joint venture with Philadelphia-based Lupert-Adler, a real estate private equity firm.

The new joint venture underscores Lane Co.’s need to push more deals through the pipeline. The multifamily investor’s deal flow has thinned to a trickle in the past year, with volume falling from 37 active deals in January 2008 to only five transactions this January.

Despite the recession, Hade, 37, is sounding positive, and for good reason. The financial alliance with Luper-Adler may help catapult Lane out of the recessionary doldrums. Few other apartment investors currently have the cash on hand to close deals quickly, without paying ruinous interest rates or agreeing to onerous loan-to-value terms.

To fill up the new fund, Lane is targeting the eastern seaboard and Sun Belt, where it has a strong operating presence, according to Hade, who is also the firm’s chief counsel.

The ideal properties, he adds, would be “high-quality assets in irreplaceable locations, built in the ’90s or more recently, with more than 250 units.” On the economic spread sheet, Lane is looking for “double-digit, leveraged cash-on-cash returns.”

The first completed deal under the arrangement is the 533-room Solace in Peachtree complex in Atlanta in the tony Midtown district. The work at Solace included upgrading common areas and amenities, and replacing cabinetry, kitchens and baths.

A quick rise in the world of investment real estate is not too surprising for Hade, who holds both MBA and law degrees from Emory University in Atlanta. After a stint with the Atlanta law office of Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, he jumped into the multifamily field. At Lane, Hade has day-to-day involvement with all investment deals, in addition to shepherding the company’s capital-raising efforts.

Hade describes the current investment market as an open field for the value-added investor, particularly when there are few other competing buyers in the multifamily market. “We have an opportunity to purchase assets in a less competitive environment.”