By Polly Keary, Editor
Monroe’s largest apartment complex, the Morning Run Apartments on Blueberry Lane, has been sold to Coast Equity Partners, a group of investors including former senatorial and gubernatorial candidate Dino Rossi.
Coast Equity Partners is part of a larger organization called Coast Group of Companies. Investors include founder Shawn Hoban and his brother, Tom Hoban, who recently penned a piece for the Snohomish County Business Journal detailing reasons why he thinks Monroe is one of the county’s most attractive places in which to invest.
The Hoban brothers have been involved in property management and real estate for many years, and eventually drew together some powerful forces in the industry to form Coast Equity Partners.
“Shawn and I are servants at heart. We love helping make the landlord-tenant relationship work the best it possibly can on a variety of property types through property management and quality brokerage services,” Tom Hoban said in an exclusive interview with the Monroe Monitor. “Investing a bit in the real estate market made sense, so we dabbled in the 1990s. Once we linked up with Mike Harmon and Dino Rossi, Coast Equity Partners was born, and then we were able to serve other investors with similar goals by joining them in with us.”
Joining the firm last year as a principal was Josh Jansen, who lives in Monroe and who drew his partners’ attention to the small city.
“Josh has been a game changer for us,” said Hoban. “It’s hard to find people with such a strong balance of skills in finding and sorting through opportunities, underwriting them, negotiating terms, and who are fun to be around. Josh is that kind of a talent.”
Jansen, 34, was a star high school football player at Kamiak High School in Mukilteo in the 1990s and found his way into commercial real estate after a successful college football career and a short stint in the Canadian Football League.
“Cheryl and I settled into Monroe to build a life for ourselves and our two children nearly 10 years ago,” said Jansen. “It’s a great place to live and we plan to stay. For me, coming to work is so much fun. The Hoban brothers, Mike Harmon and Dino Rossi are like my teammates today.”
The firm found the Morning Run Apartments and other properties like it attractive as the recession wore on.
“We made a bet in early 2009 that this recession would play out almost precisely how it has,” said Jansen. “Most recessions last about 18 months but the structural changes and national political environment in early 2009 led Tom, Shawn, Mike and Dino to conclude this one would be different. They were the first people I heard talking about how apartment properties would likely flourish in a long recession marked by high unemployment and flat wages.”
The Morning Run Apartments is the largest complex the group has bought, at 222 units.
The group now owns over twenty different income properties throughout the Pacific Northwest with an approximate market value of $180 million.
Morning Run Apartments was owned and operated for nearly a decade by a publicly-traded real estate investment trust, said Jansen.
Hoban likes Monroe and sees good things to come.
“Interstate 5 is a major impediment for Everett and some other communities trying to feed off the same commuter patterns that Monroe residents have access to through other means,” he said. “Yet Monroe has a lot of employment right in its own boundaries and the geographic and political situation today to gain even more. The net migration of companies out of the I-5 choked communities into Monroe is telling.”
Hoban paints a picture of Monroe by comparing it to Issaquah in King County.
“Think of Issaquah maybe twenty years ago. Monroe situates very similarly, but with a stronger local employment story and better commuter lines,” he said. “Once U.S. 2 gets the business loop to fix the traffic choke through the downtown, Monroe may become one of the best places to live and work in the region. We hope to help make that so by providing a quality living experience at Morning Run Apartments for many years to come.”