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Seasons at Bel Air sells for $80 million

A Harford County apartment complex that spent years in receivership has sold for $80 million, said the brokerage firm that worked on the deal.

The 732-unit Seasons at Bel Air was purchased by Hampshire Properties, a privately-held Brooklyn-based real estate firm that focuses on buying undervalued properties and holding them long-term, according to CBRE Capital Markets, which arranged the sale and financing for the deal after title battles cleared this summer. Hampshire Properties will likely start renovating the Bel Air apartments as they turn over and raise rents, said CBRE vice chairman Bill Roohan.

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"It's a great value-add," he said.

Older multi-family complexes have been strong performers across the mid-Atlantic region, with rents increasing an average of 2 percent to 3.5 percent each year, he said. Newer properties, by contrast, face more competition, and in some cases, owners in less desirable areas have had to lower rents, he said.

The average rent at the Seasons at Bel Air complex, which has mostly two bedroom units, is currently $980, roughly the same as in 2007, Roohan said. Seasons at Bel Air, built at 955 Sablewood Road between 1975 and 1985, was 94 percent occupied at the time of the sale.

The California-based apartment investor The Bethany Group, which declared bankruptcy through its affiliates around 2009, was the owner when the loan secured by the property, and two others, entered default, Roohan said. A Dec. 2010 appraisal valued it at about $63 million, according to a Credit Suisse report.

Hampshire Properties' portfolio also includes apartments in Rockville and Laurel.

nsherman@baltsun.com

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