A Chicago-based development firm has purchased its second apartment complex in Topeka, expanding its presence in the capital city real estate market.
ALK Properties LLC recently closed on Topeka’s Westgate Village Apartments, located at 5237 S.W. 20th Terrace, near the corner of S.W. 21st and Fairlawn Road.
According to Nick Yadron, the firm’s co-founder, ALK already owned Topeka’s Whitehall Apartments, at 3930 S.W. Twilight Drive, and was looking to continue its investment locally.
“We came across the broker and were just talking to them about potential deals, and they had one (Westgate Village) that was not listed yet,” Yadron said. “It was just a good option for us.”
In fact, he added, ALK had looked at Westgate when it was up for sale a couple of years ago, but a private ownership group out of Kansas City placed the higher bid.
That private group owned the property for about two years before selling in December, according to TJ Wahl, of Newmark Zimmer, which represented the ownership group in the recent transaction.
Now that ALK has acquired the property, it hopes to continue renovation efforts started by the previous owners.
According to Wahl, the private ownership group out of Kansas City completed some exterior renovations, including updated windows and doors, new roofing and a fresh coat of paint.
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Yadron said ALK plans to build on such progress by installing new exterior lighting around the property and doing some site work, which should include pouring new concrete.
He said the previous group also renovated about 30 of the complex’s 97 apartment units, and ALK is looking to remodel the remaining ones.
“Our intention is to take the property the rest of the way,” Yadron said. “We’re going to probably come pretty close to matching what the previous owner had been doing. … We’ve been investing between $5,000 and $7,000 a unit on the interiors.”
Renovations of about six apartments, he said, are already underway. Upgrades typically include new flooring, cabinets and countertops; fresh coats of paint; and new fixtures throughout a unit.
Yadron expects renovating the entire complex will be about an 18-month process.
“As we have people move in and out, that’s when we take care of it, as opposed to trying to disrupt anybody’s living arrangement,” he said “That normally takes about 18 months with normal move-in and move-outs.”
When ALK purchased Westgate Village, the occupancy rate was about 76%, Yadron said. They had three move-ins in January and expect to have the occupancy rate up to 95% within a few months.
And he does expect there to be “modest increases” in the price of rent for the complex’s one, two and three-bedroom units — with the average price coming in at about $775.
“Some of the existing units that had not been remodeled were fairly below market value, based on the type of complex and even in comparison to some of the other units that we own,” Yadron said. “Really the rates will be commensurate with what the market is there and kind of match the improvements that are being put into the property.”
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Attorney Brian Jacques, with the firm Sloan, Eisenbarth, Glassman, McEntire & Jarboe LLC, has worked with Yadron and the ALK team on each of their local acquisitions. Having lived in Topeka for more than 20 years, Jacques said it is nice to see outsiders wanting to invest in the capital city.
“My experience in working with Nick and his team at ALK Properties has been positive,” Jacques said. “I am proud to be from Topeka and glad to see that others outside of our community see that Topeka is worth the investment.”
And Yadron said this likely won’t be the last time the community hears from ALK.
“Our intent is to own those properties for the foreseeable future,” he said. “And we’re also looking for more in that general area.”