The Panther Group purchased Victoria Manor, a 352-unit underperforming luxury apartment community in Lakeland, Florida in late 2010. Lakeland is the largest city between Tampa and Orlando. Panther knew the Orlando market well, and at only an hour away, Lakeland seemed a logical extension of the firm's operations.
At the time, Panther did not have an internal management team, so a third-party manager was selected to handle all property-related responsibilities. Shortly into ownership, Panther realized that operations would be enhanced by installing their own management team in an effort to better attract and retain tenants. Panther believed that more aggressive and effective asset management would aid tenant metrics given Lakeland's economy somewhat slow recovery following the financial crisis.
Panther subsequently built its own management group and began managing the property. Even with improved marketing and internal management, Victoria Manor's performance was struggling to meet Panther's expectations. In 2013, as the economy in near-by Orlando and surrounding metropolitan areas grew stronger, Lakeland remained a region still struggling with lackluster growth.
In 2013, The Panther team re-assessed the Victoria Manor opportunity in light of the dynamism in Orlando and a growing pipeline of compelling alternative investment opportunities. Upon making the determination that there were significantly better return opportunities for both firm and investor capital, the decision was made to put the property up for sale. Victoria Manor was subsequently sold in April 2014, generating a small capital gain despite the difficult local market.
While Victoria Manor's investment performance fell short of Panther's expectations, dividends combined with capital gains delivered a respectable return for equity holders over the holding period.