Atlanta—Arsenal Real Estate is teaming up with Wood Partners to develop Alta Coventry Station, a 322-unit apartment complex targeting residents earning between 80 percent and 120 percent of the area median income. The development is Arsenal’s third workforce housing investment announced this quarter. In April, Arsenal announced that it provided $10 million in financing for two workforce housing developments in the San Antonio suburbs, for a total of 452 units. The firm is investing $6.4 million in the Atlanta project.

Alta Coventry Station’s apartments will average 1,092 square feet, each with its own laundry facilities. The 17.5-acre site will include a fitness center, a business center, a pool, a picnic area, and a clubhouse. The development is part of a master-planned community that will include single-family homes, seniors housing, lofts, and retail space.

Alta Coventry Gardens is approximately 7.5 miles from downtown Atlanta.

Arsenal expects the need for workforce housing to grow as many potential buyers have been priced out of the market, and the collapse of the sub-prime lending industry has excluded others from buying a home.

Mixed-Use Community Planned in Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Fla.—Miles Development Properties, an Atlanta-based developer, will break ground on a $250 million adaptive reuse project this fall. Brooklyn Park will include 275 apartments and 800 condominiums, in addition to hotel, office, and retail space.

The mixed-use community will be situated on 12.5 acres near the city’s downtown. The first phase will include 275 apartments, ranging in size from 535 square feet to 1,294 square feet. The second and final phase will feature the condos, 150,000 square feet of office space, a 130-room hotel, retail space, and a one-acre public park.

Apartment rents will range from $775 to $1,800 per month. Residents will have access to a fitness center and a clubroom. The developer will consider adding for-sale condos to the development. Brooklyn Park is slated for completion in five years.

GSE Reform Bill Moves Ahead

In May, the House of Representatives passed legislation to create a new regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks.

The bill tightens Fannie and Freddie’s affordable housing goals by only counting mortgages the agencies have purchased on homes or rental units that target households earning a maximum of 80 percent of the area median income (down from 100 percent). This move likely will increase the government-sponsored enterprises’ (GSE) incentives to expand their multifamily lending, which already accounts for about 30 percent of their qualified “affordable” activities.

The bill next faces scrutiny by the Senate, where GSE reform legislation died in the last Congress over concerns that the measure did not give the new regulator enough power to curb the size of the GSEs’ portfolios. The version of GSE reform passed by the House includes an amendment stating that the new regulator can only consider the reliability of the companies themselves when setting portfolio limits.

However, a White House policy statement says the regulator should also be able to consider whether the portfolios pose a risk to the larger financial system.

Senate Republicans oppose a provision in the bill that would require the GSEs to fund an affordable housing trust fund sized to equal 0.012 percent of their prior year’s mortgage portfolios.

Tishman, Lehman to Buy Archstone-Smith

Archstone-Smith, one of the country’s biggest owners of apartment properties, has agreed to be acquired by a partnership of Tishman Speyer and Lehman Bros. The transaction is valued at $22 billion, including the assumption and refinancing of the real estate investment trust’s (REIT) debt. The deal represents the largest acquisition ever in the multifamily REIT sector.

Tishman Speyer made headlines last October when it teamed up with BlackRock Realty to purchase Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, two New York City apartment buildings, for $5.4 billion—a deal called the largest real estate transaction in U.S. history. Tishman Speyer owns Rockefeller Center and the Chrysler Building in New York City, CityPoint and TowerPlace in London, and the SonyCenter in Berlin.

As of March, Archstone-Smith owned or had an interest in 344 apartment properties, or more than 86,000 units, including units under construction. The REIT owns properties under the brands Archstone and Charles E. Smith. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.

“Archstone is known for buying and building and maintaining properties as rentals,” said Gary Malin, chief operating officer for Citi Habitats, a residential real estate firm based in Manhattan. “Tishman/Lehman down the road may look to convert to condominiums, although it’s too early to know.” Archstone’s board unanimously approved the deal at a per share price of $60.75. Shareholders still have to vote on the buyout, though no date was announced.

Extell Sells East Village Apartments for $97.5 Million

New York City–Extell Development has sold 17 residential buildings it purchased 18 months ago to Westbrook Partners for $97.5 million. The buildings include 259 apartment units. The biggest residential building in the portfolio has 35 units and two bars.

Some real estate insiders were baffled by the development giant’s purchase of the small apartment buildings located in the East Village.

Extell paid $72 million for the portfolio. The firm did not indicate what its plans were for the apartments.

Extell is involved in zoning wars involving one of its largest developments, a condo project called Ariel East and West in the city. Residents say the high-rise condos don’t mesh with the look of the neighborhood.

When Extell purchased the East Village portfolio, the community board organized a meeting because of “concerns about funny demolitions or evictions.” Residents’ worries may not have disappeared with the sale, as Westbrook Partners also is a big real estate developer. It was one of the leading bidders for the 11,232-unit Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village apartments.