COMMENT OF THE DAY: HOUSTON MOD LOVERS’ GOOGIE CONDO COLLECTIVE “OK mod lovers, this is your ONE BIG CHANCE.
How many of you have commented on Swamplot that you would love to buy that about-to-be-torn-down mod home if you only could afford it?
Six of you guys put your heads together and buy this place. You can each have a 1,000+ SF condo unit in an iconic building in a great neighborhood for less than $125,000 per person.” [Bernard, commenting on Penguin Arms, Houston’s Only Googie Apartment Building, Is Now for Sale]
How has that condo conversion of the former Commerce Building at the corner of Main St. and Walker Downtown been working out?
The building has 122 finished units and a two-story-tall penthouse that has not been built out yet.
A total of 69 units have been sold, and another 25 have been leased. [Commerce Towers sales and leasing agent Susan] Speck said some of the renters are interested in buying.
Prominent Houstonian Jesse Jones built the first part of the structure in 1928, and added onto it in the 1930s, Speck said.
An entity named Premier Towers bought the building in 1999. It was redeveloped by New York-based Whitney Jordan Group with Tarantino Properties Inc. of Houston.
The first condo units were finished and people starting moving in during 2002.
Photo of Commerce Towers, 914 Main St.: Sandra Gunn Properties
Just how did a group of Israeli investors get stuck with 114 condo units in this quaint converted apartment complex in League City? And why are they now suing the project’s developer and property manager?
The Galveston County Daily News‘s Laura Elder explains:
The investors never intended to live in the units but instead were seeking to generate income by renting them to others, according to the lawsuit. Through agreements, the units owned by the investors were put in a rental pool managed by the defendants, according to the lawsuit.
But while Westcorp Management Group, of which Roni Amid is vice chairman, had been collecting rent from tenants, it failed to pay proceeds to the mortgage company or the investors for some units, according to the lawsuit.
Without rental income, some of the investors are unable to pay their mortgages, leading lenders to begin foreclosure proceedings on at least 30 units in the complex, said Danny Sheena, a Houston attorney representing investors.
The suit also claims the defendants used the investors’ units at the Fairways at South Shore as collateral for a $23 million loan from Deutsche Bank obtained behind their backs last August. Which means, the suit claims, the investors can’t sell their units.
And that Israeli connection? Looks like it’s all in the family:
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Here’s the plan: Buy a fourplex on a cul-de-sac near the intersection of Woodway and Voss. Do some painting, replace the roof and repair the exterior, put in granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances in one of the units and new appliances and carpet in the rest. Then . . . convert the place to condos, and flip them one at a time!
Except . . . there are a heck of a lot of condos out there in the $150K-$230K range, and selling is tough.
Bummer. But there’s still a moneymaking way out: If you can’t make the condo flip yourself, that doesn’t mean you can’t sell someone else on the idea of doing it. And you’ve already done the conversion work!
Just listed on MLS: 6323 Deerwood. Four units built in 1975, totaling 7,564 square feet, on a 10,171-sq.-ft. lot. Apartments lease for $1200 and $1400. Asking $645,000:
Units have already been condo converted! Investor can sell units separately or keep as a fourplex.
Will consider seller financing!
After the jump: the renovated innards.
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