Office Investor Accesso Partners Moves into Multifamily Sector

Commercial Real Estate Direct

July 20, 2021

By Orest Mandzy

Accesso Partners, which in recent years has focused almost exclusively on the office sector, has moved into the multifamily sector.

The Hallandale Beach, Fla., investment manager, founded in 2003 as Beacon Investment Properties, has $3.1 billion of assets under management, mostly office properties. But it recently invested about $25 million in the development of two apartment properties in the Carolinas: a 200-unit active-adult property, dubbed the Providence, in Charlotte, N.C., and a 264-unit garden-style community in Greer, S.C., which is just outside of Greenville, S.C.

Accesso is partnering with Proffitt Dixon Partners of Charlotte, N.C., on the development of both properties.

It is aiming to invest roughly $100 million of equity capital annually into apartment properties. With leverage, that could amount to $300 million of deals every year.

Its focus will be on development, but it could pursue existing properties in certain circumstances. It typically will partner with third parties, like Proffitt Dixon.

“We’ve been contemplating an expansion into multifamily for some time, given the consistently strong demand for housing, which has only accelerated during the pandemic,” explained Claudio Dombey, founding and managing partner of Accesso.

Added Alan Garzon, director of Accesso, who is overseeing the company’s multifamily efforts: “We think there’s a good risk-reward in development.”

While ground-up development is typically a riskier endeavor than buying an existing property with an established track record, “we see an opportunity,” Garzon said, explaining the chronic shortage of housing, particularly in certain areas of the country.

The National Multifamily Housing Council, for instance, recently noted that since 2000, the level of new supply of units was far less than needed to keep up with demand. And that supply plunged following the Global Financial Crisis – between 2010 and 2014, fewer than 200,000 units annually were delivered. Last year, 364,700 units were delivered, up from 311,000 in 2016 and the most since 1988, when 388,600 units were delivered.

Despite the recent increase in supply, the trade group noted that not enough units have been delivered to make up for the years of undersupply.

Accesso will pursue opportunities in the Sunbelt region, particularly in Florida, Georgia, Texas and the Carolinas – states that have seen growth in jobs and population. It will pursue garden-style properties with roughly 250 units each.

Accesso owns 34 office properties with 14.5 million sf on behalf of its investor clients. Many of those investors had sought to diversify into the multifamily property market at the same time that Accesso was considering moving into that sector.

“While we continue to be bullish on the office sector and believe in its long-term potential as employees return to the office this year, investing in multifamily provides us with a new avenue to diversify our business,” Garzon said. He noted that during the coronavirus pandemic the apartment sector remained resilient.