By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor
Construction activity is underway for Jefferson Apartment Group’s latest project, Azul Baldwin Park in Orlando, Fla.’s thriving, 1,100-acre Baldwin Park neighborhood. JAG is developing the 178-unit luxury apartment property with investment partner Pacolet Milliken Enterprises Inc.
Azul is just one piece of JAG’s portfolio expansion plan for 2013. “JAG expects to develop close to $250 million and acquire another $100 million in multi-family assets this year,” James Duncan, a senior vice president and partner with JAG, told Commercial Property Executive.
JAG is not divulging Azul’s development cost; however, Wells Fargo is providing financing. Winter Park Construction is onboard the project as general contractor and is on schedule to complete construction of the apartment community’s four- and five-story LEED-certified buildings in the first quarter of 2014.
Designed to provide accommodations and an atmosphere resembling those of an upscale boutique hotel, Azul will cater to renters with higher-end tastes in a city where a growing jobs market has resulted in an increasingly loud cry for apartments. Sources of demand are within close proximity to Azul. The property, which neighbors the affluent town of Winter Park, sits three miles from thriving downtown Orlando and a dozen miles from the 650-acre Medical City health and life sciences park and its mushrooming employee roster.
“The established community of Baldwin Park has proven to be a premium residential location,” Mike Mulhall, a senior vice president and managing partner with JAG, said in a prepared statement. “Coupled with the exceptional medical-related growth on the horizon for the area, Jefferson Apartment Group anticipates Azul to deliver marked and enduring results.”
The apartment market is on the upswing across Orlando, where the average vacancy rate is on track to continue its decline, dropping to an anticipated 5.2 percent in 2013, according to a report by Marcus & Millichap Real Estate Investment Services.
JAG has an active year of building activity planned–and not just in Florida, where the company currently has four other apartment projects in the works.
“JAG is interested in major markets on the East Coast, particularly those with high barriers to entry,” Duncan told CPE. “We are currently working in metropolitan Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., as well as several Florida markets including Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Lauderdale and Palm Beach.” The company is also in the process of expanding its presence in Baltimore, where it recently broke ground on the 304-unit Jefferson Square at Washington Hill. JAG also hopes to open an office in suburban New York City this year.