Equity Residential (EQR), the real estate investment trust backed by billionaire Sam Zell, on Tuesday said it committed about $563 million for a 75% equity share in a new $750 million rental apartment development partnership with home builder Toll Brothers Inc. (TOL). Toll Brothers will contribute 25% of the equity, or about $188 million, through its apartment living unit. Shares of Equity Residential fell 1.0% in midday trading, while Toll Brothers' stock rose 3.8%. Including 60% debt, the pact will seek to deploy about $1.9 billion over the next three years to purchase and build apartments in Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Boston; Denver; Orange County/San Diego; Seattle and Dallas-Fort Worth. Equity Residential Chief Executive Mark Parrell said the venture will combine his firm's market knowledge and balance sheet with Toll Brothers' development capability, "to produce high quality apartment properties in our expansion markets and predominantly suburban locations." Toll Brothers CEO Douglas Yearley said the pact will help the company develop more apartments with less capital. (Written by Steve Gelsi.)
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