Robert Bush 6:31 p.m., May 18
Downtown housing seems to be a very popular topic. There are articles in the Reader, U-T, Metropolitan, and now right here on my blog.
I have been asking our City Council, CCDC, CCAC, and anyone else who would listen, "Why do we continue to build?" No one had an answer, really. Kevin Faulconer's aid, at the time, told me they would not be building if there wasn't a demand. I also made a presentation at the Planning Committee about a potential condo conversion project (Archstone). Some of those members asked a lot of questions and they were well aware of the high priced condos already on the market. It seems that all of a sudden (since the financial crisis reared its ugly head) everyone is noticing there may be a problem.
I call it a glut. WAY too many condos. Way too many high rise buildings. Anyone who walks around downtown after dark can see the problem first hand. This is obviously not scientific, but there are very few lights on in the new buildings (since 2004). Some of those places are vacation homes, or snowbird places. I had requested information from all the agencies regarding owner occupied condos. I never got an answer, only a runaround.
In the article in the Metropolitan, by Douglas Wilson, another of the downtown developers, he states there are 110 condominium units available for sale in downtown. I found that statement to be nuts. He does not say how many units are available in his complex, The Mark. He also states that he sold half of the 244 units at Parkloft in 2007. How many closed escrow? How many are currently occupied? How many will be foreclosed on? How many are vacant or never sold?
In the U-T article, staff writer, Lori Weisberg, states that there are currently 22 condo buildings with units for sale (3 not ready yet), with 1549 units unsold. That is a sizeable difference from the 110 stated by Mr. Wilson.
The fiasco at Vantage Pointe may result in many people losing either money or a place to live, or both. Read the article in the 12/04/2008 edition of The Reader.
Our City used to be America's Finest City, at least until corruption, bankruptcy, resignations, etc. became the norm. I, for one, am hoping that 2009 will not be business as usual. I love this city and I love living downtown. I do not like the high rise buildings and the feeling of emptiness when walking around. And what about all the businesses that were to occupy the ground floors?? I do not have a count, but a very high percentage sport empty spaces.
Where are the rentals? Many of the condos are renting now, but the prices are way too high. Renters who want to live downtown have SRO's or high price units. Either the top of the ladder or the bottom rung.