Phila landlord's $16M apartment deal: Update

UPDATED: Galman Group, Jenkintown, earlier this year bought the 120-unit Red Lion Manor apartment complex in Somerton, Northeast Philadelphia, and 111-apartment Cheswick Square in Roxborough, Northwest Philadelphia, for a combined $16.15 million, using $13.5 million in Fannie Mae-backed conventional loans from Bethesda, MD-based Beech Street Capital, via broker Meridian Capital, plus equity for the balance.

Galman paid $7.7 million for Red Lion, $8.45 million for Keswick, according to the firm's Christopher Albright. The group, owned by Arnold Galman, plans $2 million in renovations.

"We've bought two portfolios, total 634 apartments, in the last two years," Albright told me. That includes two properties bought from the former L&S Property Group, in Roxborough and Lansdowne, which had been taken over by Fannie Mae and needed substantial renovations. Those buildings are near completion and will be leased soon, the Galman firm says.

Rents at Galman properties range from upwards of $1,300/month for 1BRs, to $1,800/month 2BR, gas and heat included, at sites in King of Prussia; plus, for example, $900s-$1,300s in Roxborough, $700s-$900s in Mount Airy.

I asked why so many new and renovated rentals are opening up in the city despite the lack of new office jobs there. "People are commuting out," Albright told me. "I'm an example: I live in Pennsport, I work here in Jenkintown, I'm taking classes up at N.Y.U." The central location and ease of highway and public transport makes Philadelphia and its more accessible suburbs "a competitive market."

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