A 41-unit Buckhead condominium building has sold for $8.4 million and will soon be empty of owners and tenants, likely for renovation into luxury apartments, according to the real estate agent who brokered the sale.

The sale of the House at Phipps Condominiums at 3645 Peachtree Road closed on Dec. 20, according to broker Steve Massell of Massell Commercial Real Estate. The buyer is Global Liberty Investment, LLC, which is registered to Amin Alibhai at a Sandy Springs house. Alibhai could not immediately be reached for comment.

The House at Phipps condominium building at 3645 Peachtree Road as seen in a Google Maps photo at the time it was for sale.

“The property was 100% occupied at time of sale, but all owners will vacate and the new owner will likely renovate to luxury multi-family residential,” said a press release from Massell’s firm. In a phone interview, Massell said some of the units were rented to tenants.

Massell worked for four years on the complex deal to get all of the condo owners to sell, but originally had an even bigger pitch. In 2016, he marketed the House at Phipps as a package along with two adjacent properties at the southeast corner of the Peachtree and Roxboro Road intersection: a BP gas station at 3639 Peachtree and the 12-unit Roxboro Apartments at 3607 Roxboro. Those other two properties are no longer being actively marketed, Massell said, after some prospective buyers of that heard that rezoning for redevelopment could be a challenge.

Central Buckhead’s luxurious redevelopment has moved into the Peachtree/Roxboro intersection. The BP is catty-corner to 3630 Peachtree, a 40-story, mixed-use tower built in 2009.

The House at Phipps dates to 1958. Massell said his understanding is that it was built as apartments, then became a dorm for the now-shuttered fashion school Bauder College before a condo conversion. Massell said “the building was in pretty terrible condition… Class C condition for a Class A location.”

Steve Massell of Massell Commercial Real Estate. (Special)

The sales price amounts to nearly $205,000 per unit, and Massell said that various prospective buyers’ estimates of renovation costs varied from $20,000 to $50,000 per unit. Some owners said they would stay if the building were renovated, Massell said, but the final deal involved vacating the property. His understanding is that Alibhai intends to make the building “luxury rentals.”

The conversion or redevelopment of older residential properties into luxury units is drawing increasing attention in Buckhead. In 2018, the luxury conversion of the 1951 Darlington Apartments at 2025 Peachtree generated citywide controversy for displacing tenants. Last year, the nonprofit Livable Buckhead issued a study about middle-income, or “workforce,” housing affordability and related commuter traffic that urged preservation of existing housing as a tactic. Livable Buckhead Executive Director Denise Starling is scheduled to speak about housing issues at the Jan. 9 meeting of the Buckhead Council of Neighborhoods.

In the case of the House at Phipps, Massell said, “I think the opportunity for workforce housing is there in that – and I’m just guessing – that maybe 50% of the owners were not in the workforce. They’re elderly. So you’re adding inventory that could be occupied by those in the workforce.”

“From a dollar perspective for affordability,” Massell added, “that’s going to depend on how much Amin sinks into it.”

Massell, a former Buckhead Business Association president and son of former Mayor Sam Massell, previously put together another multiowner deal in 2015, a neighborhood buy-out along Sandy Springs’ Allen Road where John Wieland Homes is building more than 80 houses.