Investing in The Fields Apartments

Announcing the Newest Apartment Addition to Wilkinson Properties Fund 16: The Fields

We are happy to announce that on Monday, January 31, 2022, we closed on the purchase of The Fields, a 285-unit apartment community in Bloomington, IN. It is a well positioned, value-add community that we believe is likely to provide a strong, stable return. We were able to purchase at a price below replacement cost.

The Fields becomes the fourth property in our Wilkinson Properties Fund 16, which has now secured $30M in capital contributions.

For details on The Fields and Fund 16, click here.

Location, location, location with plenty to do

The property offers great walkability with shopping and restaurant options close by. It is situated in a high-income part of Bloomington on 52 acres, and includes multiple picnic areas, a 10-acre open park and stream-fed pond, jogging/walking trails, and bike paths. The units are larger than newer competitor properties.

It boasts amenities such as a resort-style pool with a waterfall, island, grilling stations and fire pit; a lap-pool with sunning deck and grilling station; and a 24-hour fitness center with fitness-on-demand room, cardio, and weight training equipment. It is a pet-friendly community with an off-leash dog park, washroom, and grooming tables.

The clubhouse has two floors: the bottom floor for residents has a double-sided granite fireplace, fully equipped kitchen, cyber lounge with computers, printers, scanner, and copier; a game room with ping pong tables, table games, Xbox, and PlayStation; Karaoke room with 65” tv and surround sound; four private study rooms; and a multi-recreation sport court. The top floor offers a premier event facility available to the wider community for weddings and private parties, adding to the property’s revenue stream.

“The community is located in a growing submarket of Indianapolis,” said Riley Wilkinson, WC’s Director. “We learned that it is very difficult to build new product in Bloomington, which provides a high barrier to entry—keeping demand high for already existing properties. Current occupancy is already strong, so we have a great base from which to start. We also know from our market research that other apartments in Bloomington are dealing with waitlists. We have a great property in hand, and once we begin renovations and modernizations, we believe that The Fields can quickly become a stand-out property in Bloomington.”

Back to the beginning

The Fields was built from 1997 through 2001 and the previous owners converted the property from multifamily to student housing in 2007. This conversion did not affect the overall unit spaces; it mostly meant moving from per-unit to per-bed leases and adding amenities attractive to students. WC intends to turn the property back to a conventional multifamily operational structure, with per-unit leases, the plan for which 75% to 80% of them will be non-guaranteed.

The Fields is approximately 2.5 miles from Indiana University, which has seen a 5% enrollment increase for the 2022 school year. This bodes well for the future of the school and town. At this time, 42% of the resident population at The Fields consists of grad students and non-students, which will provide a ready market for this property when converted to conventional multifamily housing.

While still offering undergrads the ability to rent if so desired, the scope of operations and renovations going forward will be focused more on families.

Experience and Expertise

WC is working with Indianapolis-based Birge & Held Management to take over operations and oversee the conversion. B&HM understands our vision and has extensive experience with the conversion process, having touched more than 8,000 units in Indiana. And based on their experience, we also expect to realize greater operational efficiencies over the previous management group.

B&HM is versed in “live-in” renovations and we are planning to do a large number of these, which would include replacing countertops, flooring, tech upgrades, LED lighting, and water conservation upgrades. More invasive renovations such as painting would take place during student turn or when we have vacant units.

“We are excited for the potential The Fields can provide as a strong value-add community,” Riley said, “considering our ability to increase rents through our modest renovation plan.”

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