Chicago-based Laramar Group has closed on three deals involving value-add property repositions in Seattle, Houston, and Alexandria, Va. The acquisitions marked the 11th, 12th, and 13th deals made under Laramar's $350 million "Value-Add Fund." According to Laramar CEO Dave Woodward, the acquisitions in Houston and Alexandria-part of a portfolio divestiture from a "New York-based company"?are typical of Laramar value-add buys. "They are the worst properties in what are otherwise great submarkets," Woodward said. "We've been at this for 20 years, and I think we have developed a reputation for taking on the hairiest of deals, and these properties are no different."

Alexandria's Hampton Court, in particular, will see significant renovation. The firm plans to invest $20,000 per door in improving the garden-style asset of 308 one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments. Laramar also plans to rename the property Bennington Crossing as part of the repositioning. "It was a real dog," Woodward said. "There were sandbags surrounding some of the buildings when I inspected it. I was told at the time that it 'only floods when it rains.'"

In Houston, Laramar acquired The Memorial Club, a 356-unit, garden-style property. The company is planning to install new flooring, countertops, and lighting in all the apartment units, as well as replacing some roofs and balconies.

Although approaching 65 years in age, the 542 units at One Thirty Nine at the Park in the city of Burien outside Seattle will benefit from what Woodward calls solid construction. It will also offer easy access to developing light rail and transportation corridors. "This should be a great Laramar story," Woodward said. "Downtown Burien is going through a huge gentrification with the addition of new retail and mixed-use development. The surroundings of the community are improving dramatically."