Universe Shells out $66M for Tampa Bay Apartments – The Real Deal

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Universe Holdings is diving into the Florida real estate market with a multifamily acquisition in Tampa Bay.

The Los Angeles-based firm paid $66 million for the 250-unit Pearce at Pavilion apartments at  3603 Pavilion Palms Circle in Riverview, roughly nine miles southeast of downtown Tampa Bay. The sale price equates to $264,000 per unit. 

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As part of the deal, Universe assumed a Fannie Mae loan at a 4.13 percent interest rate with several years left until its maturity date. 

Properties with assumable debt are particularly attractive among investors in today’s market, amid high interest rates and tough lending standards. For Universe, the relatively low mortgage payment was a factor in its decision to buy.

“It is comforting knowing we have below market rates fixed and locked in for several more years while the market hopefully cools down,” said Universe CEO Henry Manoucheri. “Waiting closer to loan maturity to refinance the property when interest rates should be lower at that time.”

The recent deal marks Universe’s first Florida acquisition. The firm plans to purchase other large multifamily properties in the Sunshine State over the next 12 to 24 months. 

Universe is drawn to Florida due to its strong economy, business-friendly policies and a steady influx of new residents, many of whom are migrating from markets with a higher cost of living, Manoucheri said. The company is specifically targeting Class A properties as it prepares for future investments.

“The reason why we are looking at newer built products is to focus mainly on operating the assets, as we self-manage all our properties,” Manoucheri said. “Looking for existing and consistent cash-flow and not having to come in with a heavy value-add budget from day one.”

Pearce at Pavilion comprises one- and two-bedroom floor plans. Amenities include a resort-style pool and spa, clubhouse with a coffee bar, game room, fitness center and a dog park.Universe, founded in 1994, has acquired more than 7,500 apartments throughout California and New Jersey. In August, the firm put a 200-unit portfolio in southwest Los Angeles up for sale.

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