LOS ANGELES—The 10-year price-per-unit record in Ventura County is broken. Champion Real Estate has purchased the Vines, a 164-unit apartment complex in Oxnard, from a partnership between Corona Riverpark Promenade LLC and Corona Riverpark Luminaria. The property traded hands for $55.5 million or $338,628 per unit, the highest per-unit price paid for a 100-plus-unit multifamily property in Ventura County for the past 10 years.

“Despite very strong fundamentals in Ventura County, the area had not, until recently, attracted heavy attention from institutional multifamily investors,” Adrienne Barr, a partner at Berkadia, tells GlobeSt.com. “However, through Berkadia’s proprietary database and buyer tracking technology, my team and I generated 13 offers from a broad spectrum of qualified buyers, including local, foreign, private, institutional and 1031 exchange buyers. We brought the asset to the market unpriced.” Barr represented the seller in the transaction.

Located at 3040 N. Oxnard Blvd. in Oxnard, the property was recently constructed in 2013 and 2014 as part of the RiverPark master-planned community. The property, which is 95% occupied, has a mix of two- and three-bedroom apartments equipped with kitchens with granite countertops, washer and dryer units, balconies or patios, walk-in closets, hardwood flooring and attached two-car garages. RiverPark offers a wealth of amenities, including seven different parks with playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, picnic areas with barbecues, water fountains. It is also located near the Collection at RiverPark, a restaurant and retail entertainment center, which recently signed 16 new restaurant leases. The center also includes a Whole Foods, Target, REI, Century Theaters and 24 Hour Fitness Super Sport.

These interior features and RiverPark amenities helped to attrack the buyer to the property. “The Vines offers a true live/work/play lifestyle,” says Barr. “Unlike the other rental product in the area, the Vines townhomes offer house-like features, including two-car direct-access garages, condominium quality finishes and, most importantly, no units above or below them. The area also offered significant barriers-to-entry as a result of open space and land use restrictions.”

Ventura County is seeing heightened investor demand for multifamily product. According to Barr, vacancy rates in the submarket fell another 70 basis points last year, reaching a low of 3.6%. As a result, rental rates are on the rise, hitting an average of $1,710 at the end of 2014. Much of this demand comes from employers in the area, which include St. John’s Regional Medical Center, Boskovich Farms, Ventura Superior Municipal Court and Walmart. “High paying jobs have emerged along the “101 Tech Corridor” resulting in Ventura County’s emergence as a leading center for high-tech companies, particularly biotechnology, telecommunications, clean energy and healthcare firms,” Barr adds.

The high price tag and job growth in the market, doesn’t mean that there were no challenges in completing the deal. “The property was encumbered by bonds associated with development within the RiverPark master-planned community, which the seller ultimately paid off prior to the close of escrow,” says Barr. “Another challenge was that some of the townhomes had been annexed into neighborhood HOAs and responsibilities needed to be negotiated and clarified, which Champion’s team was willing to work through for such a prize asset.”