UNC Turns MBAs Into Real Estate Moguls

Photograph by Robin Nelson for Bloomberg Businessweek.com

A student-run investment fund at Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina is now the proud new co-owner of a condo complex in Atlanta.

The fund partnered with Admiral Capital Group and Wood Partners to acquire Brookhaven, a 17-story condominium tower in the city’s upscale Buckhead neighborhood. The 251,280-square-foot complex has 209 units, according to CoStar Group, a real estate research firm.

Details of the transaction were undisclosed, but the plan is to modernize the building with improved amenities and common space. Built in 1985, the Brookhaven units got their last facelift in 2008—hardwood floors, custom cabinetry, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

Student fund manager Joe Parsons says this isn’t the first time the Kenan-Flagler fund has made an investment like this. The vehicle, which was started in 2011 and is managed mostly by MBA students, has invested in multifamily, hospitality, and retail properties, including acquisitions in Charleston, S.C., and Charlotte, N.C.. The Brookhaven investment was chosen because of its “desirable location and attractive return profile,” he says.

Parsons would not disclose the amount the fund has to invest, or how it has performed since 2011.

Wood Partners, which led the acquisition, has close ties to UNC. The company’s founding member, Leonard Wood, earned his MBA from Kenan-Flagler in 1972 and in 2007 contributed $4 million to establish a real estate foundation and endow a center for real estate studies. Admiral Capital Group was founded by NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson, with Daniel Bassichis, formerly of Goldman Sachs.

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