Miami developer purchases The Halstead historic complex

Miami developer purchases The Halstead historic complex

NORTH SMITHFIELD - An historic mill-turned-apartment-complex in the center of town quietly changed hands this month, and the purchaser has hired a different management firm to run the 224 unit site.

The Halstead at Slatersville Mill was purchased by Acumen Real Estate, a Miami-based development firm that invests in multi-family properties in Florida and the northeast. It hired Riverstone Residential Group, a third-party management firm that runs more than 750 properties in some 30 plus states across the country, to manage the property.

The mill, which was first built in the early 1800s by brothers Samuel and John Slater in partnership with the Providence firm of Almy and Brown, was the central structure around which the village of Slatersville was formed. The three buildings underwent significant renovation with the help of historic tax credits by the Boston-based DSF Group, and in 2007, made their debut as luxury apartments.

Unit amenities include fully applianced kitchens, carpet flooring throughout living rooms and bedrooms, in-unit washer and dryers, 10- to 16-foot ceilings, and more than 20 different floor plans. The complex is comprised of 59 one-bedroom apartments, 50 one-bedroom loft apartments, eight one-bedroom with den apartments, 17 two-bedroom apartments, 89 two-bedroom loft apartments and one three-bedroom apartment.

The buildings filled up quickly and have often had would-be residents on waiting lists in the years that followed.

The Halstead was dubbed "best new loft apartment community" by the National Association of Home Builders in 2008. Much of the history of the mill has been kept intact, including refurbished old pieces of machinery and nearly all of the old woodwork.

DSF CEO Arthur Solomon said The Halstead continued to be profitable over the past six years, but the project's investment structure required the sale.

"The property is doing well but we have a finite life real estate fund and were approaching the fund's termination," said Solomon. The fund used to purchase the mill, Solomon said, had an eight-year life cycle.

The mill is the centerpiece of a documentary by local director Christian deRezendes titled "Slatersville: America's First Mill Village." Town Administrator Paulette Hamilton contracted deRezendes for the film in efforts to encourage the development of a national park in the Blackstone Valley.

Hamilton said that so far, new management seems very open to becoming part of a growing movement to embrace and preserve the village's history.

"They have been very receptive to becoming more involved with the town and participated in the Heritage Day festivities by opening the mill to visitors," Hamilton said.

deRezendes said he's already met with new management, and they're very enthusiastic about the film. The six-minute trailer for the film played in the former mill on Heritage Day.

"People came in, asked questions and were really engaged," said deRezendes.

deRezendes said he looks forward to working with the new management. The two hour movie is expected to be complete by the end of 2014.

The sale was announced by brokerage firm CBRE/New England.

According to a press release by CBRE, Acumen has acquired almost 1,500 units valued in excess of $200 million over the past three years.

"We are pleased to add this historic, exceptional asset to our growing portfolio," said Carlos Berner, a managing partner for Acumen. "This transaction is an important part of our plan to increase our presence in the New England region."

The purchase is reportedly Acumen's first in Rhode Island.

The sale price was not immediately available.