Denver may is one of the hottest housing and property markets in the nation, and this surge of real estate investment has investors expanding their portfolios, probably in the hopes of reaping big from the metro’s flourishing economy. On September 25, 2015, Starwood Capital Group acquired Belmar, a lifestyle center in Lakewood, Colorado. The acquisition was done through Starwood Global Opportunity Fund X’s affiliate.

Belmar is mixed-use and open-air, and is located a mere 10 miles from

downtown Denver. It measures approximately 1.1 million square feet. It’s actually the town center for Lakewood and a significant portion of West Denver region. Currently, Belmar is a hub of entertainment, restaurant, housing, shopping, and office spaces. Management will change hands to Starwood Retail Partners, the branch of Starwood Capital Group mandated with leasing, managing, redeveloping, and operating the Group’s retail centers portfolio.

Future plans

Starwood Capital Group’s move to acquire the property was a strategic one. David Baker, Vice President at Starwood Capital Group projects that the immediate surrounding will experience increased demand from young professionals settling in the Denver Area. He also hopes to tap into the new population as growth is expected to increase by 10 percent over the next half-decade. Belmar’s strategic proximity to the Rocky Mountains (for recreation) and Denver’s central business district (for business) will see it become a major gainer from the City’s steady economic growth.

TruAmerica acquires Cherry Creek Club

The Starwood Capital Group is not alone in acquiring a stake of Denver. On the same date, TruAmerica, a Los Angeles-based firm, paid $71 million for the Cherry Creek Club in Glendale, Denver. This apartment community is noticeably older than the luxury one at Cherry Creek. However, the community has one amenity that is an envy to many others: a private lake. TruAmerica made the purchase in collaboration with its capital partner, Investcorp, a private equity firm based in Bahrain.

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TruAmerica’s acquisition of Cherry Creek Club apartment community at 5001 E. Mississippi Ave. was driven by the property’s affordable market-rate rents. Currently, the average monthly rate at the 44-year old club is $789, as reported by Apartment Insights. This rate is 28 percent lower than Glendale’s average. Cherry Creek Club’s rents are also 33.5 percent lower than Denver’s average monthly rate, according to the Apartment Association of Metro Denver.

Greg Campbell, TruAmerica Senior Managing Director of Acquisitions, remarked that most renters cannot afford the prime apartments being put up in Denver Area. He projects that over the next five years, 12,000 new households will be created. Although Cherry Creek area is undergoing construction of an estimated 1,100 new rental units to cater for this expected growth, most of the apartments are being built for a high-end market.

Future plans

With the Cherry Creek Club, TruAmerica will do what it does best: renovate and improve mid-level apartment communities in U.S.’s western markets, creating superior quality rentals that are affordable, especially to those who find urban housing beyond reach. TruAmerica will begin by completing exterior improvements already initiated by the community’s previous owner. It will later embark on a multi-million dollar interior renovations project. The units will receive kitchen upgrades, including new appliances, hard surface flooring, reworked cabinets, and new fixtures. With these improvements, TruAmerica hopes to address the preferences of the young professionals in Denver, who are also the majority tenants at the Cherry Creek Club.