Randy X. Ferreira is betting all his chips on the Sunshine State. The co-managing partner of Tampa, Fla.-based Blue Rock Partners sees tremendous opportunity over the next 18 to 24 months to acquire value-added apartment properties in major markets throughout Florida, including Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Sarasota.
Currently, the firm owns and manages roughly 4,000 units in the Orlando and Tampa Bay submarkets and is aggressively pursuing new acquisitions with 600 units under contract for a total of 1,000 additional new units anticipated by the end of the year in Orlando and Tampa Bay. The firm aims to amass a portfolio of 10,000 units within the next three to five years.
“Florida will be one of the most explosive growth markets in the country for multifamily in the next five years,” Ferreira says. “The state was hit pretty hard by the real estate recession, so the opportunity now for new acquisitions is much greater than in most areas of the country. We want to find properties with existing financing in place and also lender-owned properties willing to hold short-term financing. That has been our biggest strategy and our best success at acquiring new deals.”
The firm has not strayed from its original mission. Ferreira, a certified property manager, founded Blue Rock in 2004 with co-managing partner Reuven Oded to methodically acquire mid-’80s, B-plus product, beginning in Tampa Bay and Orlando. “We thought those two markets were the more stable, prime markets that would continue to have strong overall growth throughout the years and would be void of fluctuations,” Oded says.
The theory has largely proven true, though Blue Rock attributes its achievements to the company’s management style as much as its market choices. “We put our employees through an intense customer service training program called Blue Rock University,” Ferreira explains. “The company philosophy of excellence in customer service is ingrained in all of their psyche. By virtue of that passion, I believe we achieve our goals a lot quicker than most companies.”
Case in point: Blue Rock properties boast an average occupancy rate in the mid-90 percent range, whereas its competitors’ properties report occupancy levels in the high-80 percent to low-90 percent range, according to Ferreira. Customer service never felt so good.