Bell Partners Closes on Nearly $1B Value-Add Multifamily Fund

The new fund has $2.5 billion in buying power

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Multifamily investor and management company Bell Partners has closed its latest fund, Bell Apartment Fund VII, at $950 million in equity commitments. The value-add vehicle now has roughly $2.5 billion in buying power with leverage, the company noted in an announcement today.

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The fund had an initial target size of $800 million but Bell Partners received commitments from a “broad range of domestic and international institutional investors,” according to the company’s announcement. Those investors included previous investors from Bell Apartment Fund VI as well as high-net-worth individuals. 

“The fact that we were able to close Bell Apartment Fund VII above our target despite the volatility caused by COVID-19 is a strong vote of confidence from our investors,” Jon Bell, CEO of Bell Partners, said in prepared remarks. “Bell Partners has weathered numerous economic downturns during its four-and-a-half decades in business and while this one is certainly unusual, we are well-positioned to navigate it. I’m humbled by the amount of support we have received and am confident that we will continue to outperform for our investors.”

Greensboro, N.C.-based Bell Partners is employing a value-add strategy with the new fund, targeting high-quality market-rate apartment communities in 14 markets and creating value by enhancing operations, implementing renovations and capitalizing on price dislocations. 

“The fund is focused on acquiring high quality communities in Class A locations within its 14 target markets where Bell Partners can use its vertically integrated platform to add value and generate superior risk-adjusted returns for investors,” Joseph Cannon, Bell Partners’ executive vice president of investment management, told Commercial Observer. “The fund intends to create value by enhancing operations, implementing renovations and capitalizing on price dislocations.”

It’s already closed on the purchase of three properties in Dallas, Washington, D.C. and Seattle.  One of the fund’s first acquisitions was the former Vista On Courthouse, a 220-unit multifamily property located at 2200 12th Court in Arlington, Va., renamed Bell at Courthouse.

“Like all of Bell Partners’ 14 target markets, Washington D.C. is among the strongest markets in the U.S. in terms of historical apartment operating performance, current investment fundamentals, and future employment and population growth prospects,” Cannon said.

The company already has an established presence in the D.C. market, with both a regional office and one of the largest apartment operating footprints in the metro totaling over 7,500 units across 30 properties.

“The positive reception of Bell Apartment Fund VII speaks to the strength of our people and company,” said Lili Dunn, President of Bell Partners. “We are fortunate to have a large operating platform that affords us efficiencies and provides opportunities across the country while also having a deep regional presence and hands-on execution to inform our decisions and drive strong results. I’m grateful to our investors for their support and to our entire team for their continued commitment to excellence during these challenging times.”

With additional reporting from Keith Loria.

UPDATE: This story has been updated to include comments from Bell’s Joseph Cannon.