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By Marty Finley, Reporter for the Louisville Business First

An Indianapolis company that has proposed hundreds of apartments and a large restaurant in NuLu has now invested tens of millions in an East End property. 

An affiliate of Buckingham Cos. acquired the 360-unit Woodbridge Apartments at 1000 Glenridge Drive off New La Grange Road and Ormsby Lane in the Lyndon area last month for $42 million, according to a Jefferson County deed. The seller was Utah-based real estate investment firm Sundance Bay, a real estate firm that owns several apartment complexes in the Louisville market. 

Sundance Bay had purchased Woodbridge in 2016 and said it would spend more than $5 million on renovations at the time. The property offers one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments starting around $850 and increasing to about $1,900 per month. Sundance Bay had also spent more than $40 million on the 540-unit Mallgate of St. Matthews apartment complex in 2018.

Craig Romney, director of asset management for Sundance Bay, said by email that the firm updated each unit with modern appliances, new flooring and fixtures and other upgrades while it owned the property. It also gave the complex’s clubhouse a makeover, added a fitness center, renovated a distressed playground and painted the buildings. 

Romney said the property was about 93 percent occupied when the deal with Buckingham closed. 

“Woodbridge has always been a solid performing asset for us. It was a difficult decision for us to sell because we really love the office and maintenance team and the loyal residents,” Romney said by email. “We had a relationship with Buckingham and they came to us directly with a solid offer. We decided to sell since our renovation projects were completed, and we needed to focus our attention on other assets in our portfolio."

Justin Brown, Vice President of acquisitions and asset management for Buckingham Cos, released a statement on the purchase Wednesday afternoon.

“Buckingham is excited to add Woodbridge Apartments to our growing portfolio, and expand the Buckingham presence in Louisville. We try and provide our residents the highest level living experience and will bring our signature level of customer service to both current and future residents. In addition to taking over management, we’re working through extensive improvement plans for the community, including interior and exterior renovations and resident amenities slated to kick off summer of 2020.”

As I reported in June 2019,  Buckingham is also pursuing the redevelopment of the former Service Machine & Welding Co. facility at 700 East Main St. and 121 S. Clay St. in NuLu into a new mixed-use development.The company filed plans with the city last year to turn the vacant warehouse building into a 305-unit apartment community with a 4,486-square-foot restaurant.

Buckingham has declined repeated requests for comment on that project and has not disclosed construction costs or a timeline for the work. It purchased the roughly 80,000-square-foot NuLu warehouse, which sits on 2.5 acres, for $6.25 million in summer 2018. 

Louisville’s apartment market remains as hot as ever in 2020 as both local and out-of-state developers continue to propose hundreds of new apartments. At the same time, investors are spending tens of millions to invest in existing apartment properties in Louisville. 

Louisville Forward, the city's economic development arm, released data earlier this week showing the city approved the construction of more than 3,200 apartments in 2019.