Equity Residential, a Chicago real estate investment trust that has been shedding its Triangle assets over the last two years, has sold two Cary apartment buildings to a private New York investment firm for $40.5 million.
Somerset Partners, which invests in multi-tenant and office buildings, paid $21.5 million for the 444-unit Hidden Oaks Apartments and $19 million for the 344-unit Woodbridge Apartments.
Somerset is one of a number of outside investors that have entered or expanded their foothold in the Triangle during the downturn. In September, Somerset bought its first Triangle property, paying $15.6 million for the 345-unit Beech Lake Apartments in Durham.
“When you step out of the major markets ... when you look to the next rung of cities we like all the attributes Raleigh has,” said Phil Welch, a Somerset partner. “I’d say Raleigh and Nashville are the two markets were most focused on.”
Welch cited the Triangle’s diverse economy, jobs base and the presence of three high-quality universities as reasons the firm considers the region a good investment. He said the firm hopes to expand its Triangle presence in the future.
“We’ll still buy more, but at least we feel we’ve got a pretty good toehold there,” he said.