April 2009

  • Apr

The Residences at Midtown celebrates busiest two weeks for sales since its opening

April 17, 2009

Palm Beach Post

At a time when some developers are having difficulty moving inventory, The Residences at Midtown in Palm Beach Gardens just celebrated its two busiest sales weeks since opening the community in 2008.

More than 35 contracts have been written in 14 days, and, because of high broker activity, it is anticipated that many more will be written in the next few weeks.

With 50 percent of its condominiums sold, this mixed-use community by Ram Realty Services on PGA Boulevard just west of Military Trail is one of the fastest-selling developments in the area.

The Residences at Midtown is posting strong sales in what would otherwise be considered a down market. Why? “Because it is the best value, and you can’t beat it. It’s just perfect,” said Jupiter Lighthouse Realty’s Marie T. Eisenhauer, a real estate agent who wrote several contracts and bought one herself.

The Residences at Midtown is offering buyers incentives from $25,000 to $100,000 toward the purchase of a new condominium. The incentive reduces the price of a one-bedroom model to $99,000.

Special values are available among the 10 available floor plans (two plans have sold out), including the lofts above retail shops and on the three-bedroom plus den Bond model, which provides a lake view and 2,161 total square feet.

The Residences at Midtown offers a home for every buyer and budget, and offers great mortgage rates, too.

The Residences at Midtown are within walking distance of the restaurants, shops and theater at Midtown. Just east of the community is Garden Square, with even more restaurants, shops and a Publix within walking distance.

The sales center, in the clubhouse at 4901 PGA Blvd., is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, visit the Web site www.midtownpga.com or call (561) 630-5757.

  • Apr

Developer to auction off units at two Detroit condo projects

April 16, 2009

By Daniel Duggan, via Crain’s Detroit Business

With 49 units remaining at his two Detroit condo projects, Peter Cummings is taking a unique approach to selling them.

Today, he’s starting the advertising campaign for a one-day auction in which he’ll try to sell off the remaining units at the Riverfront Condos and the Ellington.

Through the process, he’s using a minimum bid of $65,000 for a one-bedroom at Riverfront and $95,000 at the Ellington. While he expects that the minimum bids will grow, he’s willing to risk selling the units for half what he sold them for in past years.

“Business involves risk,” Cummings said flatly. “There’s a bigger risk to rely on conventional approaches. These are times that call for more unusual, aggressive approaches.”

The auction is scheduled for May 9 at the Max M. Fisher Music Center. He’ll be promoting it until then in conjunction with San Francisco-based Accelerated Marketing Partners. The firm has run similar auctions in other parts of the country and has been successful in moving large numbers of condos.

“Peter is prepared to sell these units for the minimum bid if he has to,” said Ken Stevens, West Coast CEO of Accelerated Marketing Partners. “But in the end, we’re going to let the buyers determine the price.”

Cummings, chairman of Ram Development Inc., is especially eager to sell the remaining units at the Riverfront. In the last four years, he has sold 300 units, though just 38 units moved last year.

He will also donate $1,000 from the sale of each unit to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

  • Apr

Developers look past long economic downturn

April 9, 2009

by Polyana da Costa, via Daily Business Review – EXCERPT

Boca Raton – Which Bjuilder will be first to spring up?

Some developers are peering down the dark economic tunnel and seeing the glow of five-star hotels, thousands of square feet of office and retail space and hundreds of residential units in Boca Raton.

Despite tight credit, rising unemployment and a wave of residential foreclosures, developers like Ram Realty Services, Crocker Partners and Penn-Florida are starting to make plans for the end of the real estate downturn.

Palm Beach Gardens-based Ram expects to begin pre-leasing marketing efforts in a couple of months for a mixed-use project on 4.5 acres at Federal Highway and Palmetto Park Road. The project plan includes 160,000 square feet of office space, 37,000 square feet of retail space, a 153-room hotel and 105 luxury rental units.

Michael Hammon, Ram’s chief development officer, acknowledges the tough conditions in the market, especially the hurdles to finding commercial tenants and obtaining financing. But Hammon is hoping to break ground on the project late this year or early next year and is shooting for completion in late 2011.

Hammon said Ram has enough equity to invest to attract sufficient financing to build the project. The big challenge will be to pre-lease the development. No lender would consider lending on a project that isn’t substantially pre-leased, he said, adding that Ram has its own precautionary guidelines and internal pre-leasing requirements.

“We don’t want to start a speculative building,” Hammon said.

Realistically, Ram needs to sign at least one major tenant before it can move on with the project, he said.

“We have had conversations with numerous hotel operators. There is enough interest in the hotel. If we can get them the exact start date, we can get a deal for the hotel,” Hammon said.

“But we need to land one major tenant in the office portion. We have smaller tenants that are ready to go after that happens,” he said.

Since the project is in downtown Boca Raton, that “major tenant” would most likely be in the financial service sector, which has been hit especially hard in the economic meltdown.

“It is kind of hard to get banks to focus on [leasing] right now because a lot of them are in turmoil, but hopefully they will be ready soon,” Hammon said.

Ram bought the 4.5-acre site in September 2006, and paid $42 million for the property, which includes a 70,000-square-foot building, according to county records.

Ram borrowed $28.7 million from Wachovia Bank for the acquisition. Late last year, the loan came due, and Wachovia agreed to split the financing into two portions and extend the maturity dates, county records show.

After paying down a portion of the financing, Ram was left with a mortgage of $14.22 million that will expire in November 2009 and one valued at about $10 million that will expire in November 2010.

Hammon said the debt on the property is not an issue because the office building is 98 percent leased and is generating income.

  • Apr

What bust? Complex almost sold out

April 6, 2009

By Tom Bayles, via Herald Tribune

Unit 1217 was the final developer-owned condo for sale at Broadway Promenade late last week, and when it sells it will mark an unlikely time for a new condominium complex to come to its fruition.

With a view of the sunset over Sarasota Bay, Unit 1217 has two bedrooms, two baths and was listed for a final price of $299,000 after being originally tagged at $485,000.

Broadway Promenade is selling out at a time when there is a 26-month supply of condos on the market in Sarasota County as Realtors and banks struggle under the weight of the foreclosure crises.

“It’s phenomenal,” said Martina Coppenrath, Broadway Promenade’s sales manager. “We’ve sold 17 units since the beginning of the year, and this is the last one.”

Things started with a bang for the sales staff at the Promenade when in 2004, and at the height of the housing boom, Realtors were falling over each other trying to get their buyers to the front of the line.

Quickly all but 40 of the residences at the Promenade had been reserved out of the 156 at the main six-story building that faces the bay and in the 20 units in a smaller, four-story building on North Tamiami Trail between 10th and 11th streets.

Coppenrath and her sales staff kept at it though, citing the amenities that include concierge and valet services, a club room and spa, pool, fitness center, billiards room, library and business center.

Soon empty nesters, seasonal residents and young professionals who wanted to be close to the city began stopping by to look at the one-bedroom units, priced from the $180,000s, the two-bedroom condos in the mid-$200,000s and the three-bedroom units on the higher floors that sold for as much as $700,000. All of that led to Unit 1217 and its sunset view being the last one to go five years after it all began.

“I attribute to a couple of things,” Coppenrath said. “It’s a really popular building because of the people who live here, the sense of community. The owners here are all enthusiastic and say, ‘You are going to love living here,’ and that was a huge factor for us.”

Coppenrath said a brand-new, 32,502-square-foot Publix Super Market built near the condominium did not hurt either.

“And we always stayed under our competition in terms of pricing for similar units and amenities,” she said. “It boils down to pricing and a sense of community. When you can walk into a place and feel like you belong right away, that is a huge factor.”

Along the way, the Promenade’s presence helped to revitalize a southern stretch of the blighted portion of U.S. 41 heading north into Manatee County and garnered an award or two.

Last year, at the Civic Beautification Awards Breakfast of the Sarasota Garden Club, the Promenade was given a certificates of distinction for its “outstanding” landscaping efforts.

When Unit 1217 sells, Coppenrath will be jobless, which is, well, part of the job.

“I always work myself right out of a job,” she said. “It’s the nature of the beast.”

  • Apr

Justin’s Hair Salon Opening

April 1, 2009

By Kimerly Field, via PBG Lifestyle Magazine

Trend-setting salon Justin’s celebrated its ribbon-cutting ceremony with panache! Filled to its cutting-edge rafters, guests feasted on quiche and chocolate-covered strawberries while listening to eclectic tunes by DJ Supreme I. Located in trendy PBG Midtown, the 2,500-sf salon and day spa is qualified as a L’Oreal Professional Hair Coloring Center. Co-owner Justin Lynch and business partner Thea Ciallella energized visitors while their professional stylists awed them with the various hairstyles seen on the models of Midtown’s fashion show.

For more information on Justin’s, call (561) 655-2101 or visit www.justinsofpalmbeach.com

  • Apr

Oliver Boutique Grand Opening

April 1, 2009

By Kimberly Field, PBG Lifestyle Magazine

Oliver, a new fashionably hip, must-have-every-item boutique has come to Palm Beach Gardens’ Midtown. Manager Scott Mele and owners Ken and Kelly Oliver maintain superior store presentation that any customer can appreciate. The 1500-sf store front is filled with styles from Tom Ford, Converse, Rebecca Taylor, Juicy Couture, Diesel, Genetic Denim, Saint Grace, True Religion and much more. Oliver helped rock the recent Midtown fashion show with models wearing designer goods supplied by them, a real crowed pleaser!

For more information on Oliver, call (561) 626-6323.