I’ve mentioned previously that the Charlotte Business Journal has been deafeningly quiet about the Vue for the entire lifetime of this blog, but suddenly they have come to life and their most recent article appearing in this week’s edition is an eye-opener: Condo Market Getting a Big Boost From Investors. Susan Stabley is the reporter and she is doing an excellent and thorough job of digging in to what is happening in Uptown condo real estate and while the blog has been quiet for some time it is obvious that the Charlotte condo market has not. The thrust of the story is some of your more prominent complexes, like Royal Court as one example, have had their loan’s bought out at big discounts and therefore are now able to reprice their units and sell at market prices. This is leading to a stabilization of the market and generating sales.
The reporting covers a good number of complexes and most importantly covers the Vue where she interviews Dan McLean and gets the answer that yes they do get calls from time to time from folks wanting to scoop up large blocks but they don’t take them. As MCL has consistently said, they are in for the long haul.
My personal view is currently this. There is a wide range of prices and unit types in the Vue, and clearly the high-end high dollar units have done the best. If those huge dollar sales can continue, that will get them through until the court cases are resolved. In the meantime they have lowered some prices (not for previously contracted buyers) and we’ll see if any new sales come from that.
After reading this most recent article, the questions I am asking myself are 2. First, if most if not all condos in a similar situation to the Vue are having their loans bought out at big discounts and then being repriced because of lack of sales, how can the Vue possibly avoid the same fate? What makes it different from the rest? It has 17 sales after being open a year?
The second question I am asking is what are the lenders to the Vue thinking? Ultimately, it is not Dan McLean that will decide the future plans of the Vue; it is his lenders.
The Vue has maintained it may be 3 – 5 years to sell out the building. It is not anywhere near a sales pace to accomplish that. The market would really have to turn around for that to happen. If the Vue wins their appeal, that would certainly change the dynamic a bit, presuming the folks that walked away can afford to close if they are forced to. We’ll understand this better over the next 6 months.
A candid interview with the Vue’s lenders would be one I would seek next. If I were a professor, I would love to work with Dan McLean to write a case study on this project as I think it is unique and contains lots of strategy and outside events (the real estate market collapse) and one of real estate’s sharpest developers working his way through the challenges. Very few people I have talked to thought MCL would still be in the picture by now. But they still are and look to be for quite some time to come. This is why I keep at this and I am glad that now the Charlotte Business Journal and Susan Stabley have latched on to this compelling story. We all wish for a happy ending for all the parties that got caught up in this. Clearly some are going to be happier than others.
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