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Deals & Dealmakers

Simmons eyes affordable housing with new investment company

Asland said it wants to create over 400 new apartments at the Park Lane site.

Former Ares partner, James H. Simmons III, has launched his own real estate investment firm specializing in multifamily, mixed-use and retail investments.

The firm opened with the acquisition of two acquisitions Heritage at Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia and Park Lane Apartments in New York City, the company may built some 429 new units.

JIM SIMMONS

A 20-year veteran of private equity real estate investment, Simmons said Asland Capital Partners’ launch was recapitalized by StepStone Group Real Estate, a private equity company that specializes in

“general partner secondaries,” buying interest in funds from current investors and making new commitments.

The closing funded Asland’s acquisition of two assets Heritage at Old Town and Park Lane Apartments. According to a press release, the deals are reflective of “Asland’s mission of creating and preserving best-in-class middle-income housing in domestic emerging submarkets.”

At Park Lane, a 353-unit, 375,000 s/f apartment complex located at 1965-1975 Lafayette Avenue in New York City, Asland has worked with existing tenants as well as federal, state and city agencies to preserve the long-term affordability of the development.

It is also planning to create 429 units of affordable housing, property it will most likley build on adjacent sites, according to one source,

At Heritage at Old Town, a 244-unit, 136,800 s/f asset located at 431 South Columbus Avenue in Alexandria, Virginia, Asland plans a preservation and redevelopment program in concert with local stakeholders and city of Alexandria in accordance with its comprehensive small area plan process. The firm is working closely with current tenants, the community and the city to reimagine a mixed-income redevelopment that both preserves and creates additional affordable housing.

Asland plans to acquire cash-flowing residential and mixed-use assets below replacement cost in underinvested submarkets that it believes are rapidly improving due to a resurgence in urbanization and the resulting increased demand for rental homes.

“There is a nationwide shortage of high-quality housing that is affordable to middle-income renters,” said Simmons.

“We seek to preserve and develop workforce housing in emerging urban submarkets that are experiencing an influx of new residents.”

“Asland’s focus will be on providing a product that serves the rise in urban population growth, in markets across the U.S. where we have extensive experience, connectivity, local knowledge and have invested successfully in the past. We will leverage deep community-based relationships with owners, brokers and local domiciles to provide proprietary access to the best investment opportunities in these key urban submarkets.”

John Waters, a partner at StepStone, said, “We believe that workforce and affordable housing is an extremely attractive investment sector that also makes an important social contribution, especially when managed by a highly experienced manager like Asland.”

Before Ares, Simmons managed the Apollo Domestic Emerging Markets Fund, a $485 million private equity fund. he also served as president and CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation and held roles at Salomon Smith Barney, Bankers Trust and General Electric.

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