Panther began research on Venue Apartments, a 306-unit Class "A" multifamily property built in 2005, at the height of the financial crisis in 2009. Although an excellent property, Venue suffered from a history of distressed ownership. Further, the investment environment at the time was turbulent with a concession-driven multifamily market. Panther believed that the volatile market conditions had two key implications. It meant that obtaining reliable financing and an attractive purchase price would be more critical than ever to make the investment successful.
Deal preparation for the auction process was extensive. Panther's market research indicated that while Orlando's multifamily market was stressed at the time, long-term fundamentals were quite favorable. The firm concluded that when general financial conditions stabilized, Orlando would be an excellent market in which to own a quality asset.
During 2009, Venue was performing reasonably well given the market conditions. Panther anticipated that the auction for the property would attract numerous bidders. To increase the attractiveness and surety of their bid, Panther pre-arranged financing, with management going so far as to personally guarantee the loan.
Panther's preparation and ability to pre-arrange project-appropriate financing paid-off. The firm's bid was not the highest, but other offers failed largely due to the inability to obtain financing. Panther closed on Venue Apartments in January 2010.
Post-closing, Panther made a number of modest capital improvements to increase the attractiveness of the property in what was a very competitive market. The firm's sound property-level management led to improving occupancy statistics and increasing NOI as the market strengthened.
Venue performed extremely well as the Orlando market moved from crisis to recovery. Economic occupancy on acquisition was 78%; by mid-2014, the figure was over 90%. In the second half of 2014, Panther sold Venue for a significant capital gain.
Panther's diligent preparation and execution provided excellent returns to the project's equity holders when the property was sold in November 2014.