Investors Sign Up for Detroit Condos

Detroit—Local businessman Dave Bing has rounded up a number of sports and business leaders to back Watermark Detroit, a $60 million luxury residential development planned for the city’s east riverfront. The investors include Detroit Super Bowl chairman Roger Penske, Detroit Pistons executive and former basketball player Joe Dumars, former basketball player Derrick Coleman, and Tony Earley Jr., CEO of DTE Energy.
Despite a weak real estate market in Detroit, Bing said he is confident that the development will attract buyers because of its location near the city’s new RiverWalk.
The Watermark will include 112 condominium units, with prices expected to range from the high $300,000s to more than $1 million. The development is one of three condo projects slated for Detroit’s east riverfront, where cement silos once stood.

The few new residential developments will be competing in a market with the weakest home sales since the early 1980s. New home construction is running at about a quarter of normal levels, and sales of existing homes have been slow here for more than a year.


Bistricer Renegotiating Starrett City Bid

New York City—Clipper Equity’s David Bistricer may be lowering his bid for the 5,881-unit Starrett City apartments in Brooklyn. He also may work with local housing groups to keep units affordable at the nation’s largest federally subsidized apartment complex.

Clipper Equity’s bid of $1.3 billion for the project was rejected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in March because the would-be owner failed to supply a plan to keep units affordable.

Bistricer and two influential African-American ministers, the Rev. Calvin O. Butts, III and the Rev. A.R. Bernard, met with HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson on March 23.

“He seems sincere in wanting to work with us and in making sure that the tenants in Starrett City remain in affordable housing,” Butts told the New York Times. “I think what we bring to this is credibility, to the extent that we have been really aggressive in maintaining affordable housing.”

Federal housing officials are still reviewing the issue. Bistricer has hired two lobbyists, Suri Kasirer, who has connections to New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer; and Brad Card, brother of Andrew Card, the former chief of staff for President George W. Bush.

Lincoln and Phoenix Propose Student Housing

Boston—Lincoln Property Co. and Phoenix Property Co. have proposed a $110 million student housing development in Boston’s Fenway area. The high-rise project, which would house students from Northeastern University, includes 1,140 beds, faculty housing, a café, and recreational facilities. The YMCA has agreed to sell Phoenix a 25,000 square-foot site on St. Botolph Street, and a portion of a wing that it operates, for the project.

LeFrak Organization Selling 2,000 Units

New York City—The LeFrak Organization has agreed to sell 2,000 apartments located in Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island for about $250 million, or $125,000 per unit.

The assets are mostly garden apartments. The buyer was not disclosed. CB Richard Ellis brokered the sale.


Owner Wants $48.6 Million for Plaza Square

St. Louis—Hamid Shahid has put his downtown Plaza Square apartment complex on the market for $48.6 million, touting the 14-story building’s “condo conversion potential.”

In 2004, the Shahid family bought the 936-unit complex for $21.4 million in a foreclosure sale. An earlier attempt by HUD to sell the property to a partnership of Sansone Group and Gundaker Commercial Group, Inc., reportedly fell through.

Castlebrook Apartments Sell in Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge—Castlebrook Apartment Homes here has sold for $17.15 million, or $64,962 per unit. Marcus & Millichap represented both the buyer and the seller.

The community consists of 264 units, most of which—184 units—have been recently renovated. The two-story building is located 10 minutes from downtown, Louisiana State University, and Baton Rouge International Airport.

The Morgan Group to Build Apartments in River Market

Kansas City, Mo.—The Morgan Group plans to begin construction on an upscale apartment community in the River Market district here in mid-2009. The 326-unit mid-rise, 100 Wyandotte, will offer panoramic views of the Missouri River.

“Kansas City’s urban core is undergoing the largest resurgence since the city’s founding,” said Carleton Riser, Morgan Group’s vice president of development. “People are choosing to live closer to where they work and play. We expect the River Market area’s close proximity to downtown and established sense of community will draw more suburban dwellers to the neighborhood.”

The average unit size will be 960 square feet. One- and two-bedroom floor plans will be available. Large walk-in closets, high-speed Internet access, and full-size washers/dryers will be included in each unit. Community amenities include a swimming pool, a fitness facility, an outdoor grill, and a controlled-access parking garage.


Community with Five Lakes Sells in Greensboro

Greensboro, N.C.—Hidden Lakes Apartments, a 483-unit apartment complex, has sold here for $19.6 million, or more than $40,579 per unit. The buyer was Core Realty Partners. The seller was a private investor from Borup, Minn.

The 23-building community is situated on more than 45 acres, and the property includes five lakes, a tennis court, two swimming pools, and picnic areas. The complex consists of 251 two-bedroom units, 211 one-bedroom units, and 21 studio units. Monthly rents range from $425 to $543. Sperry Van Ness represented the buyer, and Sperry Van Ness and Pickering & Co. represented the seller.

Apartments Sell for $31 Million in Miami Suburb

Kendall, Fla.—The Biscayne Beach Club, a 248-unit apartment community located in this Miami suburb, has sold for $31 million, or $125,000 per unit. The buyer was BHI Developers, and the seller was Paramount Companies. Both are based in Miami.

The Class B community consists of 16 two-story buildings and a clubhouse. Some units include full-size washers and dryers, lake views, and vaulted ceilings. Community amenities include a clubhouse, a fitness center, a pool, a spa, and a business center.


ING Provides Financing for California Condos

Irvine, Calif.—ING Real Estate Finance is providing $171 million of construction financing for the development of Astoria at Central Park West, a condominium project in this Southern California city. The developer is Lennar Intergulf, a venture between Lennar Corp. of Miami and Intergulf Investment Corp. of Vancouver, British Columbia.

The two-building condo project will be located within the Central Park West master-planned complex, off Interstate 405. Astoria will have 240 units ranging in price from $600,000 to more than $2 million per unit, and a 574-space parking garage.

SNK Realty, MacFarlane Partners Form JV

San Bruno, Calif.—SNK Realty and MacFarlane Partners have formed a joint venture to build The Crossing, Phase III, a 350-unit luxury residential development here that will feature condominiums and rental apartments. The $170 million project is scheduled for completion in the summer of 2009.

The Crossing is a community on 20 acres of former U.S. Navy property. The master developer is a joint venture between TMG Partners and Regis Homes of Northern California, from which the seven-acre Phase III site was acquired.

Phase III of The Crossing will consist of two five-story residential buildings, each with two subterranean levels of garage space. One building will feature 187 for-sale condominiums, including one- and two-bedroom units. The other building will house 163 one- and two-bedroom rental units. Unit sizes are expected to range from 700 square feet to 1,800 square feet. n