Last night WSOC-TV Channel 9 did a spot on the VUE’s one year anniversary and it is posted on the web with the title: Less Than 5 Percent of High-Rise Condos Sold 1 Year After Opening.
I thought the spot was very fair, and could be the start of more media focus on the VUE. Here you have a building that has less than 5% of the units occupied after being open for business for 1 year. Anne Miller, the Director of Sales, gives a stiff upper lip response in an email about “staying the course,” and we cannot deny that so far they have done just that. The blog has speculated that it is the outstanding appeal on the court cases for specific performance that has led them to hold fast, because this would lead to compelling the 200+ folks that contracted for a unit to be legally responsible for closing. This is a long-shot but it is literally their only hope, so can we blame them for going for it? The legal answer may not come anytime soon but it is hard to know from my standpoint when it will be.
It was interesting to learn that 3 of the 18 residents are “real estate companies,” and I appreciated the fact that one resident, Bill, the owner of Invisible Fence, a terrific company that sells a Godsend product for dog owners, agreed to go on camera. If there was interactive functionality on my TV, my light-hearted question to Bill would have been: “Did you put up an invisible fence at the VUE to keep your dog Bailey IN and residents OUT?”
But when you think about it that would be a cheap shot. The VUE took a gamble that the real estate market was temporarily down and would come back. MCL did not foresee the collapse of the entire economy. While some Developers wisely decided to not proceed, the Vue thought they saw an opportunity and forged on. They took a risk, and they were unfortunately wrong. To pile on in terms of criticizing them for an investment mistake is easy to do in hindsight but not truly fair. And as loyal readers know, the blog has suggested over multiple months and multiple times to negotiate and compromise with the pre-sales buyers so that more closings could occur, but for reasons probably due to MCL’s agreement with their investors they have been unable or unwilling to do so. This is why nearly 200 of the pre-sales buyers have walked away from their deposits and have refused to close on this real estate that is possibly worth 40% less than what they contracted for.
Anne had agreed to an interview with WSOC but reneged 30 minutes later according to the report. This is understandable given the harsh (but fair) treatment the Vue has experienced at times in the media. But I actually think this was one instance where the WSOC report tried to do some service to the VUE (despite the headline) and having Anne on camera would have helped further to get their story out. Again, hindsight is 20-20.
Bill stepped up and did what he could to help the residents there. Anyone associated with the VUE should be thankful for that. Having said this, his dog Bailey was handsome and well-behaved, but much bigger than my dog, so I think for now I’ll keep mine behind my Invisible Fence and Bailey can remain behind his.
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