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New firm to build apartments in Northwest, Southern California

Urban Partners of Los Angeles, Harbor Urban of Seattle and the Mack family of New York form Mack Urban to build apartments and condos in Southern California and the Pacific Northwest.

August 21, 2013|By Roger Vincent

Los Angeles developer Urban Partners has joined with Seattle and New York developers to form a company that will build multifamily properties in the Pacific Northwest and Southern California.

The new firm is specializing in apartments and condominiums in well-established city neighborhoods.

Urban Partners was behind such large-scale projects as the University Gateway luxury rental student housing outside USC and the Del Mar Station apartment complex at a Gold Line stop in Pasadena.

Joining the L.A. firm is Seattle-based Harbor Urban, and the combination will be known as Mack Urban. Also participating in the new company as an investor is Mack Real Estate Group of New York.

The formation of Mack Urban combined the real estate holdings of Urban Partners and Harbor Urban in Los Angeles; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle, cities where the new company has more than 3,500 residential units being planned, constructed or leased.

Heading Mack Urban as chief executive is Paul Keller, who was chief operating officer of Urban Partners. The chief investment officer of Mack Urban is Matthew Burton, who was chief financial officer of Urban Partners. The new company is based in Los Angeles and has an office in Seattle.

Separately, Mack Real Estate Group is the new real estate investment enterprise of New York's Mack family. It is headed by Chief Executive Richard Mack.

The Mack family and Urban Partners have developed residential properties together in the Northwest for more than 15 years, and the formation of Mack Urban solidifies the relationship and brings the Mack family's substantial financial resources to bear, Keller said.

"I have needed additional capital sources and people who really understand not only the investment business but also the development business," Keller said. "Mack Urban will be the Mack family's platform for investing in multifamily real estate going forward."

Mack Urban plans to develop properties in Los Angeles, San Diego, the Bay Area, Portland and Seattle. The Pacific Northwest has stronger job growth than California right now, Keller said, and perhaps more opportunity to build.

"Seattle is like an affordable San Francisco," he said.

Demand for apartments on the West Coast is unlikely to wane, Burton said. "We don't think lowering homeownership rates are an anomaly," he said. "We think they are here to stay. Whether our clients are 25 or 65, there is a stronger bent toward renting."

Twitter: @rogervincent

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