How We Got It
We acquired Ansley at Town Center in June of 2017. At that time, we had already been on the sidelines for more than a year and were only shopping only for 1031 exchange assets. We concluded that valuations had escalated above our target valuations and elected to protect our investor base by sitting on the sidelines and not overpaying for product on offer at that time. But Ansley was a standout. So, we preempted the marketing process paying slightly above the whisper price at a time that offerings were regularly clearing around 103% of the whisper price.
Ansley is situated in Evans, GA, in Columbia County–one of the country’s fastest growing counties and home to the Augusta MSA’s best schools. Columbia County has enacted zoning ordinances that will curtail new apartment supply. We expect those zoning restrictions to create a favorable supply/demand imbalance in the years to come. We view Ansley as a long-term hold, owing to the favorable location in a high growth area with great schools, high home values, and easy access to the area’s largest employers following the expansion of Riverwatch Parkway.
Ansley is comprised of two conjoined developments: a gorgeous craftsman-style garden community completed in 2009, and an adjacent townhome development completed in 2014. Since the townhome product was gut-renovated at lease expiry, that portion of the property was akin to a lease-up and we saw tremendous upside on the 2nd generation leases we’d write on those townhomes after closing. At closing, the in-place rental rates on those 2BR townhomes was $1,050. These units are now going for $1,500+.
What We Did
Since we closed, we’ve rolled out many successful upgrade programs. We’ve installed washer-dryers in the garden units, added granite to the garden units, and lowered island counter heights to create a far more appealing open floorplan that residents favor. We installed a package concierge system in the location of the old laundry room that now allows residents to pick up packages 24/7/365. We also added a state-of-the art dog spa and agility equipment for the pet park.
While operating results are a tad behind plan, it remains a wonderful acquisition for the vintage (2017). We’ve yet to acquire a single asset since or model an asset with the same projected IRR. Ansley is currently on a tear following the long-awaited completion of the local Cyber Command Center at Fort Gordon (6,778 new personnel starting in 2021). The new command center cements the City’s role as a leader in cyber-related technology and training. This long-awaited job growth underpinned our underwriting. As a long-term holder, we’re happy to wait a few years for good events to materialize so long as those events are certain to occur as was the case with the Cyber Command Center. As of August 2021, we qualified for a sizable supplemental loan but have so much momentum (15+% lease trade-outs) that we’ll wait to close that Supplemental Loan, our 14th, until early 2022.