Six historic buildings along Sherman Street in Capitol Hill that make up Poet’s Row sold this week for $33.5 million.
Abacus Capital Group bought a 217-apartment portfolio highlighted by the Poet’s Row complex – buildings named after literary giants, including Mark Twain, Nathanial Hawthorne, Emily Dickinson and Robert Frost.
ARA Newmark broker Andy Hellman, who handled the sale, said it was a hot listing since it hit the market a few months ago.
“It was a plus-200-unit deal, a plus-$30 million offer in the heart of Central Denver,” Hellman said. “So we had an onslaught of groups looking, from mom-and-pop buyers who were more curious to large institutions looking at making their way into the Denver market.”
Abacus fell into the latter category. The New York-based firm lists apartment buildings in a dozen states on its website, but Poet’s Row is Abacus’ first acquisition in Colorado.
The deal included six historic Poet’s Row apartment buildings, spanning nearly the entire block between 10th and 11th avenues on Sherman Street. Lincoln Heights at 10th and Lincoln rounded out the deal.
The portfolio sold in two transactions, according to city records. Poet’s Row made up $28.43 million of the total sales price. Lincoln Heights accounted for the other $5 million or so.
ARA Newmark brokers Hellman, Justin Hunt, Terrance Hunt and Shane Ozment handled the sale. Hellman said the portfolio had four vacancies, and three of those were left empty to show potential buyers.
ARA took the property to market in late winter this year, Hellman said. It reviewed 10 offers before narrowing the field down to three final contenders. The buildings went under contract and closed in 45 days.
“Price was obviously a huge part of the decision,” Hellman said. “But it also came down to who could give us the best terms, the best price and the certainty to close. Abacus checked all of those boxes.”
Abacus will pump more money into the Poet’s Row portfolio. Hellman could not comment on specifics, but said Abacus plans both interior and exterior improvements.
“A large portion of the budget is going to go to preserving the landmark heritage of the buildings,” Hellman said. “And that weighed heavy on the sellers – it was a sentimental asset to them and they wanted the buyer to preserve it as such.”
Triton Properties was the seller in the deal. They’ve owned Poet’s Row since 1989, Hellman said, far enough back that the city’s online records system did not have a deed on file for the acquisition. Triton added Lincoln Heights in 2004 for slightly more than $1 million.
While the portfolio is technically seven buildings, Hellman said the proximity and total unit number made it look like one large community to buyers that would have hardly been interested in the Louisa May Alcott or Mark Twain buildings on their own.
The properties also cover nearly 1 1/2 acres of contiguous Cap Hill land, an assemblage Hellman said is an anomaly in the dense Denver neighborhood.
“This may never happen again,” Hellman said. “At least until Poet’s Row sells again.”