Downtown Austin's Whitley apartments change hands in blockbuster deal

Feb 26, 2014
Austin Business Journal

What is likely one of the most expensive apartment investment sales ever recorded in Austin recently closed with a new player entering the market. Hartz Mountain Industries Inc. of Seacaucus, N.J., purchased the Whitley at 301 Brazos St.


The Whitley is one of Austin’s newest apartment communities. Its rents are pushing to a previously unheard of rate of more than $3 per square foot. It was developed by a joint venture between Austin-based Riverside Resources and Des Moines, Iowa-based Principal Real Estate Investors.


The sale price was not disclosed. Charles Cirar of CBRE Group Inc. in Austin had the listing, which was reported last September. The buyer was represented by CBRE’s Institutional Group in New York.


“Hartz has acquired a trophy apartment property widely regarded as the most desirable new construction multifamily asset in Austin,” said CBRE Vice Chairman Jeffrey Dunn in a statement.


“Austin, Texas, is exactly where we want to be and Whitley fits in with the rest of our portfolio with its luxury amenties, location and pending LEED certification," said Hartz President and Chief Operating Officer Emanuel Stern.


This is Hartz's first Texas acquisition. The company recently purchased another top-of-the-line apartment asset in Seattle. Most of its apartment portfolio is in New Jersey.


Hartz Mountain originally began as an import business in 1926 when immigrant Max Stern imported singing canaries from Germany. The privately-owned company is now highly diversified. It began developing commercial real estate in 1966.


The Whitley is 16 stories with 266 units and a retail component. The Austin Business Journal recently reported that Riverside Resources has plans to build a 37-story residential tower at the corner of West Fifth Street and West Avenue.


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