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WEP Sells over $300 Million of its Multifamily Properties

Wharton Equity Partners Sells over $300 Million of its Multifamily Properties

WEP harvests gains from properties acquired post-2012 after increasing values through extensive upgrade programs

NEW YORK/PRNewswire/ — Wharton Equity Partners announces the completion of the sale of a 900-unit portfolio in Central Florida it acquired with partners in 2012. The sale caps off a productive 2016 for Wharton Equity in which the firm sold over $300 million of multifamily properties which it purchased over the last few years in partnership with institutional investors. “Starting in 2012, we saw an opportunity to acquire properties in strong secondary markets, and purchased approximately 6,500 units during this time which we are now in the process of selling to recognize gains. To date, these sales have resulted in weighted average IRR’s well in excess of 20%,” notes Peter C. Lewis, President of Wharton Equity Partners.

The firm, founded in 1987, and with offices in New York City and Miami, has a history of acquiring real estate slightly ahead of the curve and then selling when the markets ripen. “The driving investment philosophy of our firm for 30 years has been to capitalize on trends across all asset classes and strategies. Having been through a number of cycles, we felt strongly that multifamily assets would lead real estate out of the downturn, and decided to focus on secondary markets to reap the greatest arbitrage between cap rates and the cost of debt,” states Lewis.

The Florida portfolio is emblematic of Wharton Equity Partners’ investment style as the firm was presented with the transaction from a REIT when another buyer dropped out of contract and moved quickly to acquire the assets in conjunction with a New York City hedge fund and property management firm. After adding value through improved operations, and upgrades the partnership was able to raise income and sell the properties at a substantial gain.

“Although the environment has gotten more challenging, we believe there are still opportunities to purchase properties today and are actively looking for assets, particularly those catering to workforce housing,” adds Lewis. Along these lines, the company is about to close on a multifamily property in Nashville, TN that it is acquiring from the original developer. “This is exactly the type of property we want to be purchasing right now where we can completely transform an asset, located in a burgeoning market, which caters to middle income families. Within the next six months, we will expand our sights to include Class A properties in strong markets where we believe there will be downward pressure on pricing due to softening from over-building. This is in addition to our development activities, mostly in Florida and New York” he notes. In December 2016, the firm acquired a 2 acre property in the Bay Harbor/Bal Harbour sub-market in partnership with Northwood Ravin Investors where it plans on developing a mixed use project comprised of residential rentals, office and retail.

$20 Million, 2-Acre Site in Bay Harbor, Miami

Featured in The Real Deal: New York City Real Estate News


Wharton Equity Partners, Investment Partner Buy Taplin Property in Bay Harbor Islands for $20M

Plans call for a mixed-use project with Class A offices, boutique retail space and luxury rentals

By Ina Cordle

Wharton Equity Partners and Northwood Ravin just bought the late Marty Taplin’s office building and property in Bay Harbor Islands for $20.25 million, with plans to develop a mixed-use project, The Real Deal has learned.

The site, at 1177 Kane Concourse, encompasses 1.82 acres of mostly vacant land and a surface parking lot, with an existing, 21,078-square-foot , three­ story office building built in 1953. An additional 0.26-acre waterfront parcel at 9600 West Bay Harbor Drive also has an asphalt parking lot.

David E. Eisenberg , CEO of Wharton Equity Partners, told TRD that the joint venture’s preliminary plans are to develop a mixed-use project with Class A offices, boutique retail space and luxury apartment rentals. The exact size is not yet known, but the property is zoned B-1, allowing up to 65 feet, or about five stories of commercial and residential uses. The additional parcel is zoned Gateway, allowing for multifamily and apartments.

The seller is the 1177 Kane Concourse Partnership, owned by the Taplin family, which bought the property in 1994. It was tied up in a foreclosure for years, documents show, until the mortgage was paid off in Aug. 30, a few months after Taplin’s heirs sold the Sagamore Hotel for $63 million in April.

Eisenberg said he and his Wharton Equity partner, Peter C. Lewis, have had their eyes on the site for years. “We had met with Marty Taplin several times over the years to talk to him about either purchasing or joint venturing the development of this property,” Eisenberg told TRD.

“Its a huge, largely undeveloped parcel of commercially zoned property nestled between several very affluent communities ,” he said.

The site’s proximity to Bal Harbour Shops also adds to its appeal, said Eisenberg, who envisions a gourmet market and boutique fitness facility as part of the tenant mix. “A similar type of retail to Sunset Harbour: a community oriented destination … which is something that doesn’t exist in this market.”

Wharton Equity, a real estate investment firm with offices in Miami and New York City, has been active in the Miami market in recent years. The firm, in partnership with Mack Real Estate Group. has just completed Eve at the District, a 500,000 square-foot , mixed-use project at Northeast 36th Street and Northeast First Avenue on the edge of the Design District and Midtown. Wharton also owns a 2.3-acre development site in the heart of Miami’s Central Business District, zoned for more than 2 million square feet of mixed-use development , including more than 2,200 residential units. And the firm also owns and is renovating the Sheraton Miami Airport Hotel in partnership with Hersha Hospitality and a New York private equity fund.

Northwood Ravin, founded by David Ravin, is a development , construction and property management firm that focuses on the Southeast. It has offices in Charlotte and Morrisville, North Carolina and Tampa, according to its website .

Bay Harbor Islands, a once sleepy town, is surging with new development. At least 26 new projects are in some stage of development on the neighborhood’s two islands, many of them boutique condo buildings and townhouses , including Sophie, Sereno, Akua, Bay Harbor Gardens , Pearl House and Le Jardin.


WEP’s Midtown Mixed-Use Project Grand Opening

District 36 Grand Opening in Midtown Miami


Miami, FL – Developers Wharton Equity Partners and Mack Real Estate Group have completed construction of the Eve at the District, named after an art piece (“Eve”) by Hawaii-based artist Anna Sweet which is featured prominently in the lobby. The project injected 195 luxury rental units and over 61,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space in an area nestled between Midtown Miami and the Design District. Located at 3635 Northeast 1st Avenue, the developers employed Stantec for architecture and design services. Susan LaFleur, director of hospitality and residential interiors of Stantec’s Miami Office reveals, “Our design team was seeking a ‘wow factor’ that would immediately engage and intrigue the guest and set the sensual tone of the space. Eve did that so wonderfully that naming the project after her was obligatory.” Two additional pieces of work by Sweet, will be displayed in the new building’s public spaces.