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Insula Companies Selected to Gator100

Firm Recognized for Growth, Entrepreneurial Spirit and Continued Success

 
































SARASOTA, Fla. – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of investors – was named to the University of Florida’s (UF) 2017 Gator100 during a ceremony February 10, 2017, at UF’s J. Wayne Reitz Union Grand Ballroom.

Sponsored by the UF Alumni Association, in partnership with the UF Entrepreneurship & Innovation Center, the Gator100 recognizes the 100 fastest-growing businesses owned or led by UF alumni. Ernst & Young calculated each company’s compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the past three years to generate the ranking.

“The Gator100 is a campus-wide initiative that recognizes the entrepreneurial spirit entrenched in the university,” said Timothy Walsh, the Executive Director of the UF Alumni Association and Assistant Vice President of Alumni Affairs. “UF Alumni have created and guided some of the most innovative and profitable businesses in the nation and world. The Gator100 celebrates the very best of our Gator Entrepreneurs.”

To qualify for the Gator100, companies must have been in business for five years or more as of October 1, 2016, and have had verifiable annual revenues of $250,000 or more in 2013. Additionally, a UF alumnus or alumna must have met one of the following three leadership criteria:

  • Owned 50 percent or more of the company from January 1, 2013, through October 1, 2016;
  • Served as company’s chief executive from January 1, 2013, through October 1, 2016
  • Founded the company and active as a member of the most senior management team from January 1, 2013, through October 1, 2016
     






















 



Frederick D. Cochran, MBA and Managing Partner of Insula Companies, earned an MBA from the University of Florida. Cochran formed Insula Companies in 2009 to acquire multi-family properties throughout the Southeast. His vision serves as the firm’s driving force, resulting in a portfolio of more than 5,000 units and $450 million in assets to date. Cochran holds a Florida Real Estate Broker’s License and is an active member in the Young Presidents’ Organization (YPO).

View the full list of Gator100 honorees at gator100.ufl.edu

 

CBRE Closes $31M Deal near Orlando

Michaelson Group purchased the recently renovated, 312-unit Charter Pointe from Insula Properties.

By Robert Demeter, January 19, 2017 

 




















Altamonte Springs, Fla.—CBRE has recently arranged the sale of Charter Pointe, a 312-unit community near Orlando, in Altamonte Springs, Fla. Jacksonville-based Michaelson Group acquired the asset for $31 million. Sarasota-based Insula Properties was the seller, represented by CBRE’s Shelton Granade, Luke Wickham and Justin Basquill.

Located at 919 Ballard St., close to Eastmonte Park, Charter Pointe sits on more than 19 acres and encompasses 23 two-story buildings with studio apartments and one- and two-bedroom residences. Built in 1973, the community has been recently refurbished with an exterior paint job, exterior railings and stairways, new signage and new roofs. Additionally, the property features a renovated clubhouse, fitness center, two swimming pools, an outdoor kitchen and 625 parking spaces. According to Yardi Matrix, as of December 2016 the property was 98.4 percent occupied, and average monthly rents were $889.

“Investors were drawn to the desirable location in Altamonte Springs near the Maitland Center Office Park, Uptown Altamonte, and within walking distance to a new SunRail commuter rail station,” Granade, vice chairman of CBRE Capital Markets, said in prepared remarks. Photo courtesy of Yardi Matrix

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Insula Cos. Hits $100M in Apartment Acquisitions for 2016

The firm has provided investors with a portfolio of more than 5,000 units and $450 million in assets in Florida multi-housing communities.

By Ivy Lee Rosario, November 15, 2016

 














Calibre Bend Apartments located in Winter Park, Fla.

Sarasota, Fla.—Insula Cos. has reached the milestone of $100 million in property acquisitions this year with the recent purchase of Calibre Bend Apartments in Winter Park, Fla. The two-story, 212-unit property was purchased for $29 million from a private insurance company on Oct. 7.

Previously owned for 25 years, the community underwent a $6.3 million renovation in 2009 addressing all major capital items including the replacement of all exterior siding and windows, putting up new roofs and a redesign of its clubhouse. The 212 units average about 1,047 square feet and sit on nearly 15 acres of land.

A Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community acquisition and revitalization on behalf of private investors, Insula has properties in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida. This purchase marks their 26th since the firm began operations in 2009.

“Our team is proud to have consistently built upon successes to have reached this significant point for our company,” said Fred Cochran, president of Insula Cos.

Located adjacent to Full Sail University and close to UCF, the property offers a variety of living options and has maintained a best-in-class reputation for years. In order to further enhance the community, Insula has planned a $1.5 million makeover project including unit upgrades, enhancing the clubhouse and pool area and modernizing other amenities to include a tennis court, a fitness center, a business center, an outdoor grilling area, a sundeck and a car wash station.



Sarasota-Based Insula Companies Fetches $32.6 Million in Recent Property Sale

Kissimmee Apartment Community Marks Firm’s 5 Completed Transaction in 2016

 






























SARASOTA, Fla. – October 21 , 2016 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of investors – has successfully completed the sale of Valencian Apartments in Kissimmee, Florida, to a private investor for $32.6 Million on October 3, 2016. Insula Companies has sold 5 revitalized properties in the past year, resulting in significant high-yield returns for its equity investors.

We are proud of our work on the Valencian in Kissimmee,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “This project further reinforces our positive track record of bringing value and returns to our investors through effective management services, widespread improvements and high occupancy rates.” Insula Companies purchased the 366-unit property off-market for $16.75 Million in 2014. The firm spent approximately $3 Million rebranding the property and making major renovations to common area amenities and the exterior curb appeal of the community.

With properties in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida, Insula Companies pursues only the communities considered to have the best future value for investors. An apartment community must be a 15- to 40-year-old class B or C property with a minimum of 150 units, present value-added potential through cosmetic or substantial rehabilitation work, and have market-related and/or management-induced challenges to qualify for Acquisition. 


Sarasota-Based Insula Companies Completes Sale of Tampa Apartment Community

Park East Apartments Sells for $17.5 Million

 

































SARASOTA, Fla. – October 18, 2016 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of investors – sold Park East Apartments in Tampa, Florida, to a private investor for $17.5 Million on September 1, 2016. Insula Companies has completed the sale of 5 revitalized properties in the past year, resulting in significant high-yield returns for its equity investors.

Insula Companies purchased the 192-unit property from a private seller for $12.4 Million in 2014. The firm made several enhancements to common area amenities and the community’s curb appeal, which served to boost value and improve appearance. “With Park East, we identified an exceptional opportunity in a highly desirable area,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “After bringing our team on-site and implementing effective management services and widespread improvements, we were ultimately able to achieve value and returns for our investors.”

With properties in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida, Insula Companies pursues only the communities considered to have the best future value for investors. An apartment community must be a 15- to 40-year-old class B or C property with a minimum of 150 units, present value-added potential through cosmetic or substantial rehabilitation work, and have market-related and/or management-induced challenges to qualify for Acquisition.

Visit www.insulacompanies.com for more information.

About Insula Companies

Since 2009, Insula Companies have recognized the potential for apartment community Acquisition and revitalization and provided investors with a portfolio of more than 5,000 units and $450 Million in assets in Florida-based multi-housing complexes. With regional offices serving multiple major Florida markets, the firm has developed an unparalleled understanding of the communities acquired and their future promise for enhancement and return. For more information, visit InsulaCompanies.com or call 941.960.7000.


A Little Love

By: Beth Luberecki, February 19, 2016

 




























Fred Cochran founded Sarasota-based Insula Cos. in 2009. The company buys apartment complexes in need of some love, renovates them and rents them out again. Photo by Lori Sax

Executive Summary


Company. Insula Cos.  Industry. Commercial real estate, multifamily Key. Insula Cos. has benefited from a thriving apartment market, but new supply and more competition present challenges.

Fred Cochran knows first-hand what it takes to own and operate an apartment building. While still in college 20 years ago, he purchased a 10-unit apartment complex, and he quickly found out just how hands-on he’d need to be.

“With a little 10-unit complex, you can’t afford to have a property manager or maintenance guy,” he says. “So for five years, I was the property manager and maintenance guy. I learned the daily ins and outs of property management, which is really not an easy job.”

But that time spent doing repairs and dealing with tenants gave Cochran perspective many of his peers don’t have. “There’s no substitute for hands-on experience,” he says. “No matter how many books you read or classes you take, if you haven’t done it you just don’t have an appreciation for how difficult the job is.”

That experience proved useful for Cochran, especially when he decided to start his own firm in 2009. “When the recession came, the values of apartments — and everything else — went down quickly,” he says. “I recognized it was probably a good time to start buying apartments.”

His firm, Sarasota-based Insula Cos., has since become a regional leader in the scorching-hot multifamily market. The market is so hot that Cochran’s challenges have shifted, to staving off competitors and managing the level of risk on every purchase. 

“It’s a nationwide investor base, along with foreign capital,” says Amanda Cooper, director of multifamily investment sales for Tampa Bay at commercial real estate firm Colliers International. “There are very few groups that don’t want to be involved in multifamily right now.”

Insula’s first Acquisition was an 82-unit property in Sarasota. Since then, Cochran and his co-managing partner, Larry Fox, have acquired about 5,000 units with a value of more than $400 Million. They’ve sold some of those complexes, for a profit, over the years when the timing was right, and the firm’s current portfolio is about 3,500 units worth more than $300 Million. It recently made its 25th and largest Acquisition to date, a $42 Million purchase of a 396-unit apartment complex in Orlando.

Insula focuses on the Sarasota, Tampa, Lakeland, Kissimmee, Orlando and Tallahassee areas, markets that a hands-on operator like Cochran can easily reach from Sarasota. It looks for apartment properties that need some TLC, fixes them up and rents them out. The firm’s goal is to do four Acquisitions per year and expand its portfolio to between 5,000 and 10,000 units. But it’s seeing a lot more competition for properties than it did in the beginning.

“In 2009, everybody was truly scared,” says Cochran. “When prices are way down, the people who have the confidence are the local people who know and understand the markets and the values. Now people aren’t scared; they’re very bullish, so there’s a lot of competition. It’s easier to get access to capital, so you start to see people come from New York, California, all over the place.”

Adds Cochran: “It’s more difficult now and we’re more cautious, but there are still opportunities.”

Big factors

Cochran, like others in multifamily, has been boosted by a demographics shift, a rebounding economy and an improved unemployment rate. All three factors have strengthened the renter pool. In Florida, for example, the unemployment rate went from a high of 11.2% at the end of 2009 to just about 5% at the end of 2015. “There are a lot more renters who have jobs and can pay rent,” says Cochran.

More people, including baby boomers and millennials, are also opting to rent rather than own for the flexibility that it brings. “For millennials, the days of staying in one job for 15 or 20 years are very numbered if not already expired,” says Cooper. “They want to be able to pick up and go wherever the next job takes them.”

In general, these factors are why demand far exceeded supply in Florida in the last four years, says Barbara Denham, an economist with commercial real estate research firm Reis, Inc. It’s also created what Cooper calls “the perfect storm for multifamily.”

But the market has shown signs of shifting.

“Looking ahead, it looks like supply will be exceeding demand in almost every market,” says Denham. “We expect vacancy rates to increase — not dangerously, but more steadily. And that will affect the growth rate in rents going forward. Things will still be positive, but not as robust as it has been.”

Reis estimates that 3,036 new units will come online in 2016 in the Tampa area, which is more than 2015 but less than 2014, when 3,500 new apartment units came onto the market. In Orlando, 3,950 new apartment units are scheduled for completion in 2016, less than the 4,300 new units completed in 2015.

'Underserved market'

A glut of new construction wouldn’t be great for Insula. But one element in the firm’s favor is much of the new multifamily construction is in the Class A space, high-end buildings that fetch high-end rents.

Insula focuses on Class B and C properties, workforce or affordable housing. It looks to invest in complexes with 100 to 300 units that are 15 to 40 years old in its target geographic areas.

“A lot of times the properties are not maintained or kept in the condition that maximizes the value,” says Cochran. “So we find those and put money into them, and generally the tenants are willing to pay a little bit more to live in a little nicer place. It’s an underserved market.”

Cooper, with Colliers International, agrees that Cochran has a solid niche. “The space Insula plays in in the market insulates them from being hit hard by the addition of any new supply,” says Cooper. “They can get that additional rent lift without outpricing their typical tenants.”

While each property’s needs are different, Insula tends to invest in increasing complexes’ curb appeal and improving the exterior, office and amenities. Interior renovations can include improvements to kitchens and bathrooms. 

“A lot of times we let the market determine what it wants,” says Cochran. “So we’ll make a couple different levels of upgrades in the interiors and see what people prefer and are willing to pay for. The tenants tell me what they want.”

The renovations Insula makes help boost the complexes’ occupancy rates and tenant profiles. “It generally attracts a different type of renter when you have a nicer-looking asset,” says Cochran. “We really don’t focus on just increasing rents. Once you have a good resident profile and nice property, you can move the rents a little bit. But we’re not looking to maximize rents at the expense of everything else. Because people have to pay the rent. You can charge whatever you want to charge, but if they can’t pay it, it doesn’t work.”

Cochran has made other shifts at Insula to stay ahead of trends, and competitive forces.

Around three years ago, for example, Insula started its own apartment management firm, which further helps to protect its investments. The management arm now employs 110 people and helps ensure that the complexes remain in their post-renovation condition. “We used to outsource the management,” says Cochran, “but nobody cares about your properties like you do.”

Cochran adds that he believes current market phase has staying power because the fundamental metrics are solid, and in 2006 and 2007 the fundamentals were flimsy, at best. “They were based on speculation and condo conversion and the greater fool theory,” he says. “So this feels a lot better.”

At a glance: Recent deals, Insula Cos.

Here are some recent examples of deals Sarasota-based Insula Cos. has closed on — both Acquisitions and sales.

Sold 30 apartments in west Bradenton, in a community formerly known as Braden Lakes, for $25 Million to a private investor in May. Insula bought the property out of foreclosure in 2013 for $14.28 Million. It spent $1.4 Million on renovations. 

Firm made its first purchase in Tallahassee in May, when it bought the 120-unit Club at Lake Jackson complex out of foreclosure. Insula plans to spend at least $800,000 on renovations to the complex. 

In June, Insula acquired the 164-unit Village Green Apartments in Altamonte Springs from a private owner. The firm plans to spend $1.5 Million on a makeover there. 

In September, Insula acquired Harbour Walk Apartments in Tampa for $29.5 Million. The complex, across the street from Tampa Community Hospital, has 400 units. Insula plans to spend $2.5 Million on a makeover and rebranding.

By the numbers

Insula Cos.
Year Revenues Percent Growth
2012 $15.3 Million
2013 $20.63 Million 34.8%
2014 $27.10 Million 31.3%
2015 $41.44 Million 52.9% Source: Insula Cos.

 


Sarasota-Based Insula Companies Acquires The Glenn Apartments in Orlando for $42 Million
 

 

Sarasota, Florida – January 14, 2016 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community acquisition and revitalization on behalf of private investors – is proud to announce the recent addition of The Glenn Apartments in Orlando, Florida, to its expanding portfolio of communities. The $42 Million purchase is the company’s largest project to date and marks the first strategic Acquisition for Insula Companies in 2016 and the 25th since the firm began operations in 2009.

“With its outstanding resort-style amenities and proximity to the UCF campus, shopping and dining, The Glenn represented an excellent value-add investment opportunity,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies.

Offering 396 residences, The Glenn provides a selection of spacious one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments created with style and comfort in mind. The property boasts three sparkling pools, a sundeck and tanning areas, a game room with billiards, a sand volleyball court and a newly constructed 2,500-square-foot fitness center with spin and yoga room.

With properties in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida, Insula Companies pursues only the communities considered to have the best future value for investors. An apartment community must be a 15- to 40-year-old class B or C property with a minimum of 150 units, present value-added potential through cosmetic or substantial rehabilitation work, and have market-related and/or management-induced challenges to qualify for Acquisition.

About Insula Companies

Since 2009, Insula Companies have recognized the potential for apartment community acquisition and revitalization and provided investors with a portfolio of approximately 3,500 units and $275 Million in assets in Florida-based multi-housing complexes. With regional offices serving multiple major Florida markets, the firm has developed an unparalleled understanding of the communities acquired and their future promise for enhancement and return. For more information, visit InsulaCompanies.com or call 941.960.7000.

$29.5 Million Acquisition Becomes Largest Asset for Sarasota-Based Insula Companies

Harbour Walk Apartments in Tampa Marks the Firm’s Ninth Purchase in 2015

 

Sarasota, Florida – October 1, 2015– Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of private investors – is proud to announce the recent addition of Harbour Walk Apartments in Tampa, Florida, to its expanding, carefully selected portfolio of communities. The $29.5 Million purchase is the company’s largest asset to date and marks the ninth strategic Acquisition for Insula Companies in 2015 and the 24th since the firm began operations in 2009.

“Adding Harbour Walk Apartments to our family of properties represents a benchmark achievement for Insula Companies,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “This Acquisition serves to reinforce our reputation of bringing value to communities on behalf of our private investors.”

The 400-unit Harbour Walk Apartments was acquired by Insula Companies from a private owner on September 30, 2015. Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP acted as the closing agent for the transaction.

The property, located across the street from Tampa Community Hospital, will benefit significantly from a planned $2.5 Million makeover and re-branding campaign.

Insula Companies has sold 4 revitalized properties in the past year, resulting in significant high-yield returns for its equity investors. With properties in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida, the firm pursues only the communities considered to have the best future value for investors. An apartment community must be a 15- to 40-year-old class B or C property with a minimum of 150 units, present value-added potential through cosmetic or substantial rehabilitation work, and have market-related and/or management-induced challenges to qualify for Acquisition.


Sarasota-Based Insula Companies Acquires Apartment Community For $23 Million

This Florida Purchase Marks the Firm’s Eighth Acquisition in 2015

 

SARASOTA, Florida – September 10, 2015 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of private investors – announces the recent Acquisition of Charter Pointe Apartments in Altamonte Springs, Florida. This purchase marks the eighth for Insula Companies in 2015 and the 24rd since 2009. “We are excited to have acquired another lender-owned, 312-unit apartment complex out of foreclosure for a low price,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “The property represents an example of the unique opportunities we source for our private investors.”

This marks the second property purchased this year in Altamonte Springs, a suburban city outside of Orlando, Florida. Insula Companies’ plans for the property include a $2.5 Million renovation, which coincides with the company’s mission to find, improve, manage and maximize the value of apartment communities . With this move, Insula adds to its holdings in the Orlando metropolitan statistical area (MSA).

With properties in Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida, Insula Companies pursues only the communities considered to have the best future value for investors. Among the criteria to qualify for Acquisition, an apartment community must be a class B or C property with a minimum of 150 units, 15 to 40 years old, present value-added potential through cosmetic or substantial rehabilitation work, and have market-related and/or management induced challenges.

30 West Apartments in Bradenton Fetches $25 Million in Recent Sale

Community was Formerly Acquired and Refurbished by Sarasota-Based Insula Companies

 

SARASOTA, Fla. – May 14, 2015 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of investors – has successfully completed the sale of 30 West Apartments in Bradenton – formerly known as Braden Lakes – to a private investor for $25 Million. “The Acquisition and subsequent sale of 30 West is an exceptional representation of how we accomplish our goals on behalf of our investors,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “We are proud of our work on this community, as it builds on our positive track record of bringing value and good returns through effective management services, widespread improvements and high occupancy rates.”

Insula Companies purchased the property – located at 2835 50th Avenue West in Bradenton – for $14.28 Million out of foreclosure in 2013. The firm spent more than $1.4 Million enhancing curb appeal, improving common area amenities, and making multiple interior upgrades to residential units in order to create a truly value-added apartment community.


Sarasota-Based Insula Companies Kicks Off 2015 with Four Community Acquisitions

Includes Firm’s First Foray into Pinellas County

SARASOTA, Fla. – March 12, 2015 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of investors – announces the Acquisition of four apartment communities in two separate transactions to kick off 2015. These Acquisitions marked the 20th for Insula Companies since entering the local Florida market in 2009, and the firm’s first foray into Pinellas County. “With these recent entries into our growing portfolio, we continue our mission of making tangible improvements to yield substantial returns for our private investors,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “We are thrilled to enter the Pinellas and Pasco market, where we welcome the opportunity to bring exceptional results to the apartment communities we enhance and manage.”

On February 11, Insula Companies acquired 136-unit Rivermill Apartments for $5 Million, located at 12429 Little Road in Hudson, Florida, and 92-unit Village Square Apartments for $4.2 Million, located at 7110 Tudor Lane in Port Richey, Florida. Insula plans a combined $1.4 Million renovation to reposition both assets. On March 2, the company acquired 104-unit Forest Creek Apartments for $7.6 Million and 96-unit Bryan Dairy Place Apartments for $9 Million, both in Largo, Florida.


Sarasota-Based Insula Companies Expands Portfolio to 3,360 Apartments in Southeast United States

Tampa Apartment Community Acquisition Marks Third Florida Purchase in 2014

 

Sarasota, Florida – July 15, 2014 – Insula Companies – a Sarasota-based firm specializing in apartment community Acquisition and revitalization on behalf of private investors – is pleased to announce its third Florida Acquisition in 2014 and 13th in the state since 2009. With the $12.4 Million purchase of Park East Apartments in Tampa, Florida, Insula Companies has expanded its portfolio of units under management to more than 3,360. “Our management presence and improvement efforts at Park East Apartments in Tampa will serve to the ultimate benefit of local residents and businesses alike,” said Fred Cochran, President of Insula Companies. “Through this Acquisition, we continue our tradition of revitalizing distressed communities while building exceptional value and a channel for long-term growth for our investors,” said Jeff Talbot, Director of Acquisitions.

With properties in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Lakeland and throughout Southwest Florida, Insula Companies pursues only the communities considered to have the best future value for investors. Among the criteria to qualify for Acquisition, an apartment community must be a class B or C property with a minimum of 150 units, 15 to 40 years old, present value-added potential through cosmetic or substantial rehabilitation work, and have market-related and/or management induced problems. Located at 2020 East Bearss Avenue in Tampa, Park East Apartments was constructed in 1987 and has 192 residential units.

Insula Companies' portfolio is managed with the principal focus of maintaining high occupancy rates and collections, along with keeping expenses at or below budgeted amounts. Once acquired, apartment communities have access to the professional support and resources of over 50 staff, ensuring optimal operation and providing investors with accurate, first-class reporting services.