A Private Retreat
Victor Vangelakos had no idea how exclusive his new home would be. Last November, the New Jersey firefighter closed on one of The Related Group’s condo units at the Oasis I in Ft. Myers, Fla., for which he paid $430,000. Turns out, very few people who put deposits down on units at Oasis I closed on their deals, and those who did accepted a unit in the Oasis II next door from the economically challenged developer. Vangelakos couldn’t get a similar swap approved by his lender, so he and his wife and three kids have taken up residence at the 32-story Oasis I … alone. A fantastic article in the Fort Myers News-Press details the family’s odyssey, from walking the spooky people-less corridors during the day to having intruders to the nearly vacant property bang on the doors at night. Here’s one distressed tale in desperate need of a workout.

Getting Bombed
Ventura, Calif., fire department battalion chief Luis Espinosa and his crew recently averted an explosive disaster when they responded to reports of a blast at one of the city's apartment communities. According to comments Espinosa made to the Ventura County Star, a family leaving their apartment one morning last month set off at least four insect bombs to de-flea their apartment. The problem: They also left on a stove burner, which ignited the pesticide, blew out the windows and one door, and created a small fire contained by the firefighters. Luckily, no one was injured. Damage was estimated at $26,000. Let’s hope there was some serious renter's insurance in place.

Helping the Recovery
Phoenix, Ariz., Florida, Southern California, and... Chicago? Yup, add the Windy City to the list of distressed multifamily real estate markets. AMLI Residential’s AMLI 900 in the South Loop opened just last year, but the 440-unit high-rise is languishing, with occupancy at a paltry 64 percent. AMLI 900 assistant sales manager Sarah Cycotte told the Chicago Tribune that she’s hopeful current lease negotiations will bring the occupancy to 82 percent, but the company isn’t taking any chances and has activated its Nest Egg program at the property, which allows prospects a rent-to-own option. Renters who qualify must stay at the AMLI 900 for at least six months and then can apply 20 percent of their rent toward a purchase credit of up to 2 percent of the base price of a house or condo from Pulte Homes, Ryland Homes, or the Belgravia Group. If the pundits are right that a single-family home recovery is ultimately good for multifamily, here’s a cheer to AMLI for working to knock out market challenges at the property and industry level.  

Editor’s note: Get quirkified. Send your offbeat multifamily news leads to cwood@hanleywood.com.