Continental Realty raises more than $164 million

Longtime Baltimore real estate firm raises $164M for acquisitions.

A Baltimore-based real estate investment and management firm said Wednesday it has raised more than $164 million in private equity financing for a new fund focused on apartment and retail properties.

The fund is the fourth from Continental Realty Corp., founded in 1960. The firm, which owns and manages more than 8,000 apartments and 3 million square feet of retail, shifted its focus to funds around 2009, raising money from investors for tax certificates in Florida, said CEO J.M. Schapiro. This is its second fund to be used for the acquisition of retail and apartment complexes.

"We made the strategic decision that we were seeing more deal flow than we might have had our own equity for and we wanted to leverage our people and our experience and our relationships, and so that's when we made the decision to head toward raising money from other investors along with our own," Schapiro said.

The money, raised in just four months, comes from a mix of sources that includes foundations, institutional and individual investors from around the country.

Continental's $96 million third fund was used toward 12 "value-add" properties from the mid-Atlantic to Florida, where it could improve management, fill vacancies or make other investments to boost performance. The acquisitions included the 204-unit Lincoln Woods and 192-unit Quail Ridge communities in White Marsh, purchased last year for $58.25 million.

Schapiro said the firm hopes to announce deals for the new $164.4 million fund soon.

"We know that just because we raised the money does not make us successful," he said. "Now we have to put that money to work."

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