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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Million Dollar Condos...Donde Es?

May 17, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Million Dollar Condos-¿Donde Es?
After visiting The Trust on Friday and reading the news story when the project was first announced, I got to thinking. It wasn’t that many years ago, that the database had to be changed to accommodate 1 million dollar condominiums in Charlotte, NC. After all, in many ways we are still a small Southern town. Our uptown is about 6-8 blocks in any direction…and then there are the neighborhoods that make up the outer part of the inner city…and they are just a stone’s throw from Uptown. A brisk walk from Myers Park or Dilworth will get you there…and even from Elizabeth, Eastover, the heart of the city is palpable.
So what if you are considering Charlotte, thinking about a luxurious condominium, want to be close to The Square (center city), but want to know all of your options? Where are the million dollar plus condominiums besides the Uptown? And what does that trending look like?

That is what I was thinking about as I played in the city Saturday night and just did a placeholder on the podcast and blog. The question to myself is from your perspective: what are my options?

A little history:
2006-Active-Mecklenburg County-Uptown Charlotte In the active column, there are no active million dollar plus condos either in Mecklenburg County and because we list them separately, in Uptown Charlotte, Area 99.
2006-Sold-Mecklenburg County: 2 condos:2400 Roswell, Penthouses at Phillips Place
2006- Sold Uptown-Area 99: 3 were sold: The Ratcliffe, Courtside and 230 S. Tryon

2007-Active-Mecklenburg County-19 in Mecklenburg County: includes Fenton Place, Metropolitan, 2021 Queens, Stephens Square, 1610 Queens and Hagood Reserve
2007-Active- Uptown Area 993 in Uptown Charlotte:2 at The Vue and 1 at 400 North Church

2007-Sold-Mecklenburg County-17 in Mecklenburg County: The Crillon, Roswell Place, St. Serrant, Queens Six Two Six, 2400 Roswell Place, Park Phillips, Courtside,
2007-Sold-Uptown: 8 units were sold: Includes Courtside, Ratcliffe, 230 S. Tryon

2008-Active-Mecklenburg County-19 condos are available includes: Rosewood, Parkside, Myers Park, Royal Court, Morrocroft (co-ops) Hagood Reserve, The Arlington and Penthouses at Phillips Place.
2008-Active-Uptown-Area 99- Nine are listed as active: Includes Encore, The Trust, 230 S. Tryon, The Vue, Settler’s Place, 400 North Church.
2008-Sold-Mecklenburg County- 2 units are reported sold: Roswell Place
2008 Sold-Uptown-Area 99-2 units are reported sold- both at The Ratcliffe

Please remember that this study is on 1 million plus condominiums…and also please remember that builders do not necessarily report activity to MLS, Multiple Listing Service. And…if you have questions, please feel free to be in touch.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Friday, May 16, 2008

Visiting Charlotte Condo, The Trust: Part One

May 16, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC

Today, I visited The Trust. I had missed the time for the tour yesterday, so I adjusted my schedule and make the trip into town. Funny, I had no expectations. I grew up knowing the building, and also knowing that it sat vacant for several years. It has been a glorious day, and uptown is fun…the adventure and The Trust was quite a treat. This is Part One…yes, I like The Trust that much…a little history. There will be a Part Two coming up…Here’s the complete article from The Charlotte Observer announcing he project.

Million-dollar custom condos may boost South Tryon, high-end housing market
Luxury $1-million-plus condos are among the most desirable units on the upscale end of Charlotte's housing market.
And with that in mind, a local developer wants to create some of uptown's biggest and most expensive condos yet.
Jim Donnelly plans to buy the former Home Federal Savings and Loan Building at 139 S. Tryon St. and convert the seven-story structure to eight living units atop two commercial floors.
The concrete and glass building, is a locally designated historic property because of its banking industry significance and Modernist architecture.
Donnelly said he plans to preserve the distinguishing features.
The estimated $28 million project, between Fourth Street and the 40-story Bank of America Plaza Building, would be only footsteps from The Square -- the intersection of Trade and Tryon streets.
Two condos would be 7,000 square feet each and priced in the $3 million range. Six would be 3,500 square feet each and priced in the $1.5 million range.
This might be a Next Big Thing for a couple of reasons: It could confirm the strength of the city's upper-end condo market, and it could help boost South Tryon as a residential as well as a commercial street..
Both 50-story The Vue in Fourth Ward and 50-story 210 Trade at College and Trade streets are offering $1 million-range penthouses, but some won't be listed for sale until later.
Developer Flaherty & Collins plans to top 210 Trade with a 12,000-square-foot, two-story residence that includes a 2,000-square-foot terrace. The price is yet to be announced.
Churchill Development Group has sold four of seven 3,217-square-foot penthouses at The Vue in the $1 million range, but it hasn't yet priced six larger 3,744- to 4,337-square-foot penthouses.
Just a few years ago condos selling for more than $500,000 were scarce in Charlotte. Today, 58 are listed for $500,000 or more.
Darryl Dewberry of Spectrum Properties, which is converting an office building at 230 S. Tryon St. to condos, said some penthouses there topped 4,000 square feet and sold for more than $1 million.
He believes the market for spacious, luxury condos is deeper than it was just two or three years ago. Among the reasons he cites:
+ Charlotte has enjoyed good job growth, including high-paying jobs.
+¢ Owners of existing homes are taking advantage of appreciation and selling their residences to buy condos.
+ People arriving from major metropolitan markets sold homes for $1,000 a square foot or higher and are investing here in what they see as "affordable" penthouses.
+ Mortgage rates have remained historically low, encouraging residential real estate investment.
Who are the high-end buyers?
Our experience here has been the buyers are split almost 50-50 between young professionals who have high incomes and retired or semi-retired empty nesters who have lots of equity.
The high-end purchasers have arrived at a place in their lives that they are discriminating -- they know what they want. When a new high-rise comes on the market, they gravitate toward it because they have the money to do it.
That's the type of buyer Donnelly would like to attract to the old Home Federal Building, which he plans to rename The Trust in recognition of its banking history.
The interior of the building, completed in 1967, has been gutted so buyers will be able to design a custom home in the shell space, he said.
"We won't have any lower-priced units, so we can orient this project completely to our buyers with high-end concierge service, a wine vault and other amenities they expect," he said.
Donnelly said he's working with lenders on financing and plans to close on the property by mid-November. He expects construction to take about a year.
And, he's offering individuals a chance to buy a piece of The Square.
Jim Donnelly moved to Charlotte from New York about 11/2 years ago to help start Emerson Joseph, a men's grooming lounge.
He is a co-founder of the salon at 221 S. Tryon St. with his wife, Stacy, and her sister Shelly Takats.
Donnelly also was a co-founder of, a Internet travel site that was acquired in 2005 by Sabre Holdings.
Donnelly bought the building at 221 S. Tryon with investors and sold the top two floors as office condos. The salon occupies the first floor and basement.
The experience with that project convinced him to put a contract on the nearby Home Federal Building.
The previous owner gutted the old Home Federal Building, which developer Jim Donnelly sees as a plus.
Buyers of the 3,500 and 7,000 square foot units will be able to basically design a custom house inside the floor-to-ceiling glass space.
Donnelly believes owners will design large, open spaces for entertaining and enjoying the views.
Each unit will have at least two terraces, and owners will have access to a rooftop "social plaza" with outdoor seating, entertaining and grilling space.
The building's bank vault will be retained and used for dining and wine storage.
Donnelly said restaurants and retailers consistent with the building's upscale image are being sought for two lower levels of commercial space.
He's working with Clay Elder of ESD Architecture and Interior Design on the conversion and interviewing contractors.

Part Two will feature a telephone interview with Barbara H. Walker and Interior Designer as well as some photographs I loved snapping.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte NC

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Park Condominium Construction Site:Quiet

May 15, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

The Park Condominium Sits Idle….On my way to tour The Trust today, I came upon theshell of The Park. No cranes or cement trucks, no workmen hanging off girders, or traffic cops directing us through the construction street. All is quiet.I remembered the article in The Business Journal a couple of weeks back. I snapped a photo for you as I drove by.
And here is the article from The Business Journal, April 25, 2008
“The only work going on around the hulking frame of the 21-story The Park condo tower these days is of the legal variety.
Both contractors and vendors are lining up their claims for payment at the courthouse as developer and general contractor Verna & Associates Inc. has begun piling up unpaid bills.
The dream of engineer Pete Verna, The Park has been years in the making, with construction starting on top of an existing four-story parking deck at Third and Caldwell streets more than two years after it was announced. And now, with the tower about 70% complete according to Verna's recent statements, it's unclear when it could be finished.
Key contractors and vendors pulled off the job in recent weeks, and now there is no ongoing work visible on the site.
"The absolutely last thing any contractor wants to do is file a claim, lien or lawsuit," says Phil Campola, Charlotte-based Southern Steel Co. chief financial officer. "Ultimately, I have a responsibility in protecting the company interests, and this is a last-ditch effort."
Southern Steel filed a lawsuit against Verna & Associates in February in Mecklenburg Superior Court demanding payment of $1.13 million as part of an unpaid contract for labor and materials already provided. The company began working with Verna in May 2006 when it signed a $3.3 million contract to provide and install structural steel components for The Park.
"They have not hidden from their responsibility and are willing to communicate with us," Campola says. "Unfortunately, that did not result in anything substantive, and at the end of the day they could not fulfill their financial responsibility even if they wanted to."
Mechanics liens totaling $567,000 have also been filed against Verna & Associates by Mooresville-based Performance Fire Protection, Charlotte-based Schotte 1 Construction Inc. and Building Logistics Inc.
Performance Fire Protection has already installed most of the sprinkler system but stopped work because it had not been paid, says Ed Cook, company president. "But we are optimistic it will work out."
Verna & Associates President Dave Frailey says the company is reviewing its options. "We are working with our attorneys and lenders in regard to this matter and will resolve it," he says. "We are not in any position to comment further."
The Park condo was slated to open this summer. The project's initial stated cost was $42 million. Verna has said that 85 of the tower's 107 condos had been sold.
Allen Tate Realtors is handling unit sales. Spokeswoman Karen Murray says the company can't comment on how buyers who have already signed contracts would be impacted by a completion delay.
Condos at The Park range in price from $400 to $450 per square foot.
The latest construction update on the company's Web site is from Dec. 24. The last day Southern Steel delivered materials to the site was Nov. 19.
"Our best chance to recover our money is if the project can go to conclusion," says Campola. "But if for some reason the project can't be completed, our chances go down considerably. But we are holding out hope."

This business always presents challenges and disappointment and risks. Always.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Uptown Charlotte Condo Sales since Jan. 1...

May 14, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Uptown Condos…Sales Since 01/01/2008…
In First Ward, Uptown Charlotte 17 properties were reported sold in MLS. Minimum average square feet is 500 with 1 bedroom and 1 bath, a list price of 163,500 and a sale price of 156,750 with days on the market 6.The average square footage is 1029, 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a list price of 259,183 and a sale price of 252,269 and 90 days on the market. The maximum square footage is 1470 with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and 1 half bath, 389,000market and sold for 380 with days on the market 280.Number of Active Listings 52
In Second Ward, Uptown Charlotte 6 properties were reported sold in MLS. Minimum average square feet is 1062 with 1 bedroom and 1 bath, a list price of 359,900 and a sale price of 346,500 with days on the market 11.The average square footage is 1943, 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a list price of 803,633 and a sale price of 731,916 and 79 days on the market. The maximum square footage is 2722 with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1 half bath, 1,350,000market and sold for 1,215,000 with days on the market 220. And all 6 units are from The Ratcliffe. Number of Active 15
In Third Ward, Uptown Charlotte 32 properties were reported sold in MLS. Minimum average square feet is 480 with 1 bedroom and 1 bath, a list price of 169,000 and a sale price of 167,750 with days on the market 1.The average square footage is 1163, 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a list price of 319,040 and a sale price of 311,231 and 117 days on the market. The maximum square footage is 1915 with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1 half bath, 649,900market and sold for 635,900 with days on the market 883. Number of Active Listings 56.
In Fourth Ward, Uptown Charlotte 43 properties were reported sold in MLS. Minimum average square feet is 579 with 1 bedroom and 1 bath, a list price of 169,900 and a sale price of 169,900 with days on the market 2.The average square footage is 1121, 1 bedroom, 1 bath with a list price of 347,079 and a sale price of 329,212 and 94 days on the market. The maximum square footage is 2264 with 3 bedrooms, 3 baths and 2 half bath, 699,000market and sold for 645,000 with days on the market 292. Number of Active Listings 148.

Tomorrow off we go to visit The Trust. Let’s go Condo CanDo!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Mold, Condos and Conversions

May 13, 2008

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC
Mold, Conversions and Condos…
Real estate professionals in Charlotte, NC are winding up the requirement of taking 8 hours of Continuing Ed. The classes that were offered were so varied and interesting; I decided to take as many as I can, twelve in all. Today, the subject was Mold.I have dealt with mold on a few occasions and this class taught me a good deal. For instance, we discussed what mold needs to grow, inspecting for mold and mold abatement. The most serious side of the discussion was around health issues: breathing, allergies, fatigue, nausea, and more.One element mold needs is moisture. Water. Water in the form of condensation, water in the form of steam, water from leaky roofs, poorly installed washer lines, faulty ice makers, leaking toilets, showers and tubs that need caulk, downspouts that are leaking or poorly installed, and on.What caught my attention was the possibility of mold in conversions. Apartments that have been converted to condominiums. How do you know the history of water in a conversion? Water in the crawl space, water in the attic and water from leaking pipes…in the walls? And we heard story after story of condos being shut up for the season with water problems unbeknownst to the owner…mold being painted over…hotels and office buildings infested with mold. Now we add mold to the growing list of health hazards: asbestos, lead paint, oil tanks, arsenic treated lumber, mold.I will list several websites you might want to check for further information about mold and mildew on our blog. And remember you can inspect for mold and Indoor Air Quality.I will report later on about other details we discussed in this great class “Uncovering Mold in Real Estate”.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

Monday, May 12, 2008

Charlotte's Full Plate!

May 11, 2008

Charlotte’s Full Plate…Yummy!

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC

By now, it is no secret that Charlotte, NC is one of the cities that feels less pain than many other cities.And reading through the news and traveling in and around the city, I can report first hand…the Charlotte market is bustling and here are some of the reasons:
1. The slow real estate market has brokers from competing agencies cooperating in unprecedented ways in an effort to attract more potential buyers to tour homes on the market. Tours are built around a common theme (contemporary) or for the benefit of such non-profits as Habitat for Humanity. In Providence Plantation, two dozen homes will be on tour and in Huntersville, agents created a Multi-Million Dollar Spring Tour…hmmm. Can it be that in crisis, we will find that working together has greater rewards than just doing business?
2.Then there’s the smiley face we see at IBM’s Lender Business Process Services being set up in Charlotte to handle mortgage paperwork…the unit says it can cut mortgage origination costs by 40%. Operations are based in the University area with 65 employees and a May 15 start date. Current employment is 68 with plans to add 600 in four years.Quoting Greg Sullins of IBM, “You think we had a crystal ball because the timing could not be better.”
3. Green is good. Green is the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond choice for a new roof. The plants, a dozen varieties of succulents, will eventually cover 48,000 square feet of the new 72,000 square foot roof being installed atop the Fed building which fills a city block at Trade and Caldwell streets. The plants are being arranged across eight surface areas, including the top of an elevator shaft. The project has been nearly two years in the making. Discussion began in mid-2006 after Fed officials learned of severe deterioration in the seams of the multi-level, mid-rise building’s roof. They sought bids for both traditional and environmentally friendly replacement roofs. A regular rooftop would cost $1.54 million, roughly $330,000 less than the green approach. But the green roof was projected to last 40 years-twice as long as the traditional design. For the complete story: Charlotte Business Journal.
4. Jim Schepp expects most of his Charlotte Construction Company’s business to eventually turn green as sustainability standards are integrated into the everyday methods of building projects. How soon? "Five years," says Schepp then he adjusts his time table…"maybe two years." Nationwide, city and county governments are starting to incorporate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards into their building codes. At first, demand for green office developments led the trend. Now Schepp isreceiving increasing numbers of requests for LEED buildings for mixed-use, multifamily and hotel projects. "Going green requires a holistic approach. To do it right, the developer, designer and builder must work together from the very start," says Michael Dodson, a certified LEED professional.
5. More on Green. Financial institutions can push for environmentally sustainability. They can investigate and thoroughly understand this new environmental emphasis because they can either make or lose money from it. They could create green consumer products, such as mutual funds whose portfolios consistent of environmentally friendly manufacturers or alternative energy producers…and to understand the risk of climate change and how it can affect an investment portfolio So writes J. Patrick Bechdol, guest columnist for Charlotte Business Journal.
6. Uptown. While development in the suburbs' submarkets continues, growth will be most pronounced in 2009 within the uptown office market as several large scale projects come on line. The greatest impact will be seen when Wachovia Corp.’s 1.5 million square foot tower opens in 2009. Other significant uptown projects either slated for completion during 2009 or early 2010 include Bank of America’s 750,000 square foot office tower, the 400,000 square foot Novare Third Ward Tower and the 390,000 square foot NASCAR Plaza. More on the story by Andrew Jenkins/Karnes Report.
7. Last and not least, in Pineville a builder is offering every homebuyer a one-year pass on the Lynx light rail which has a stop in Pineville.

I have a good friend who often says, “Out of desperation comes opportunity.” Opportunity, folks, is alive and well in Charlotte, NC.

Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady® and Condo CanDo® in Charlotte, NC
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