Update, October 16, 2023: StoryBuilt has announced a clarification to the receiver sale covered in this story. For several of the mentioned projects, only Storybuilt’s minority position is being offered for sale, subject to the approval of the majority partner, investor, or lender. These minority-position sales include Dallas’ Jolene project; Seattle’s Scout, Stanley, Josephine, Beacon Hill, and Morgan Junction projects; Austin’s Thornton Flats, Frank North and South, Longview, Polaris, Ellie May, and George projects; and Denver’s Archie and Judy projects.
Three Dallas projects are among the 28 StoryBuilt commercial and residential projects valued at about $2 billion that have hit the market in a receiver sale by A&G Real Estate and Onyx Asset Advisors.
Austin-based StoryBuilt has been racked by financial struggles this year, with The Real Deal reporting in July that StoryBuilt was “restructuring amid a financial meltdown.” Co-founder Ryan Diepenbrock stepped down from his day-to-day management duties that month and Chad Shepler resigned from his role as CFO and from the company’s board of directors.
The Real Deal reported that last year, StoryBuilt and Swiss private market investor Partners Group AG formed a $1 billion joint venture with plans to develop 17 projects across the U.S., six of them in Austin, five in Seattle, three in Denver, and three in Dallas.
The company also partnered with IHP Capital Partners on a $44 million deal to fund a mixed-use complex in East Austin. StoryBuilt is in financial turmoil after failing to capitalize on its large-scale growth goals, The Real Deal said.
2,500 residential units in four cities, including Dallas
StoryBuilt has big projects ongoing in Dallas, including The Jolene mixed-use development in West Dallas and a residential development stalled in its early stages at Walnut Hill Lane and White Rock Trail in Dallas’ Lake Highlands neighborhood.
A&G Real Estate said the diverse offering, with properties running from seven to more than 800 units, features:
- Fully complete multifamily residential and mixed-use projects in Austin that are already generating millions of dollars in net operating income.
- Partially or nearly complete commercial and residential projects in Austin and Seattle.
- Land parcels in various stages of approval—including several fully entitled projects—for construction of approximately 2,500 residential units across the four cities.
“Known for its slogan ‘live where you love,’ Austin-based StoryBuilt earned a national reputation as a leading builder of attractive, contemporary real estate projects in some of the country’s most coveted urban villages and communities,” Mike Bergthold, managing director, at court-appointed receiver Stapleton Group, said in a statement. “StoryBuilt’s unique approach is all about finding cool neighborhoods first, and then building projects that meet people’s needs and add even more vibrancy to the neighborhood.”
StoryBuilt was founded in 2009 and has handled design, development, construction, sales, and property management all in-house. It has employed up to 250 people in multiple offices and has completed projects in more than 50 communities, with more than 1,500 homeowners living in StoryBuilt developments.
“StoryBuilt’s history, design skills, and management talent are strong, as is its pipeline of well-conceived and located assets, but like many other builders in recent years, the company ran into capital constraints,” Bergthold said. “For real estate investors, this truly is a unique and rare opportunity to acquire the entire company, inclusive of assets, people, and quality brand and IP or the outstanding assets individually.”
‘Shovel-ready’ sites in high-demand markets
A&G Real Estate said the availability of multiple partially or fully approved development sites is noteworthy.
“Some of these sites are essentially shovel-ready, with the municipality having already reviewed and green-lighted the plans,” K. Kevin Otus, managing partner of Onyx Asset Advisors, said in a statement. “It’s a major advantage for developers looking to seize opportunities in these high-demand markets.”
Income-generating properties include the 104-unit, design-centric apartment community of Thornton Flats, tucked in a residential neighborhood close to the nightlife and restaurants of South Lamar in Austin, A&G Real Estate said.
The firm said that the largest of the land parcels is StoryBuilt’s mixed-use “Jolene” property in West Dallas, with approvals in place for retail shops as well as 800 apartments, condos, and townhomes.
Among the partially or nearly complete commercial and residential projects available in the receiver sale are: “Scout,” a development of 16 townhomes (75% complete) in the community of Meridian Park in Shoreline, Washington; “Stanley,” a 19-townhome development (75% complete) in Seattle’s eclectic Georgetown neighborhood; and “Bruno,” 42 studios, lofted studios and 1-bedroom apartments (35% complete) on 1st Street in Austin, with community space set around a 500-year-old oak tree.
StoryBuilt’s stake in joint ventures
A&G Real Estate said that 17 of the projects are joint ventures with other entities, including a multibillion-dollar private global markets firm in which StoryBuilt has a 10% stake and handled design and construction.
A&G Real Estate said this offering includes the sale of StoryBuilt’s stake in those joint ventures.
“The availability of StoryBuilt’s position in one or more of these 17 projects is an extraordinary opportunity for qualified developers,” Emilio Amendola, co-president of A&G Real Estate Partners, said in a statement. “You’re creating the opportunity to develop or complete these assets and receive substantial fees associated with things like construction, site work and construction management and supervision.”
A&G Real Estate said the sale also includes strong opportunities for smaller investors and funds.
“We encourage investors and developers of all sizes to explore the potential opportunities in the StoryBuilt pipeline,” Amendola said. “The quality and diversity of these markets, sites and projects make this an event that is not to be missed.”
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