Owner of downtown’s Ogden bucks trend with condo sales blitz

When investors bought the Ogden and four other Las Vegas residential complexes last year for large dollars, they were amongst several laying bets on the valley’s apartment marketplace.

Now they’re betting they can sell these units one by one — but so far, it appears no other landlords share their appetite.

KRE Capital in Beverly Hills, Calif., Dune Real Estate Partners in New York and Las Vegas-primarily based Northcap teamed up in December to purchase the Ogden and Juhl — two downtown high-rises — as nicely as 1 Las Vegas, Loft five and Spanish Palms Condominiums for $ 237 million combined.

The buildings had a volatile financial history of foreclosures, lawsuits and bankruptcy proceedings. What is much more, their construction was financed by Chicago’s Corus Bank, which collapsed in 2009.

But the federal government and private investors took charge of the properties, signed renters for units that had been created as for-sale condos, and unloaded the buildings in the bulk sale.

The Ogden, 150 Las Vegas Blvd. North, has 275 units. Just ten percent are individually owned, although by late final year, practically all other units were rented, according to KRE companion Uri Vaknin. Residents contain Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, who leased a number of units and is recognized for putting up visitors and tech startups in the building.

KRE’s group has not been renewing leases for units all through the constructing as they come due, to prepare them for sale. They began listing them Wednesday.

The condos, at 815 to a lot more than 2,000 square feet, are priced from about $ 200,000 to the mid-$ 600,000 variety. 1 unit, a model home on the 18th floor, is listed at $ 635,000, compared to $ 1.2 million when the Ogden, then known as Streamline Tower, opened in spring 2008. The unit has been rented but by no means bought.

KRE’s group is only launching sales efforts for now with the Ogden, the most high-profile of the portfolio. To stay away from pushing down rates, they plan to sell units in the other buildings in phases, over the subsequent five years at least.

“We’re not going to flood the market,” Vaknin said. “That would be foolhardy on everyone’s component.”

In the course of the boom years last decade, investors purchased valley apartment buildings at bloated rates to turn into condos. But when buyers fled during the recession, landlords were forced to rent the units, leaving buildings with a messy mix of renters, condo owners, home owners associations and on-web site leasing agents.

Sales of apartment buildings are cooling, but investors snapped up rental complexes at a speedy pace the past few years, as numerous residents are hampered by flat wages and credit woes and can not get a home. Locally, investors bought 17,800 apartment units at an average $ 75,600 every in 2013, up from 3,000 units at $ 42,500 each in 2010, according to Colliers International.

Many investors have bought mothballed condo projects to turn into rentals, but apart from KRE’s group, nobody is converting apartments into condos any longer, said broker Perry White, a vice president of investments with Marcus &amp Millichap.

“I just do not see that being profitable right now,” he stated.

Higher-rise condos have been hit as challenging in the downturn as single-household houses, as sales evaporated and foreclosures swept through buildings.

Items are still volatile. A lot of condo owners on or close to the Strip, right after waiting years for rates to soar once more, are giving up and selling inexpensive, Award Realty agent Shari Sanderson stated.

As she sees it, those buildings pose the most competition to KRE’s group.

“You can (still) locate offers,” Sanderson mentioned.

Vaknin spoke with VEGAS INC at the Ogden on Wednesday. The following excerpts have been edited for clarity and brevity.

Click to enlarge photo

Uri Vaknin, partner with KRE Capital, is determined to make The Ogden renovations a success prior to being listed as for-sale condos on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014.

Query: What are your plans for converting the buildings back to for-sale condos?

Answer: We have a long-term strategy. We picked the Ogden first since it has the excellent story — it is the most higher-profile, there’s so considerably excitement around downtown, every single week there’s anything new opening up, (the concert series) Life is Stunning is at our front doorstep.

Yet another developing you bought downtown was Juhl. Would that be subsequent in the conversion approach?

That is not at the moment in the plan. Part of the cause why: Even though Juhl is nearly completely occupied, the retail is not. But we’ve picked retailers we wanted to be an amenity for the constructing and downtown.

Right now there’s zero retail there. The preceding owners knew they have been going to sell the building, so they did not want to encumber it with leases.

How would you rate the all round well being of downtown’s housing industry? One particular of the knocks on downtown is that there isn’t adequate housing.

There are a handful of high-rises, but other than that, it’s a lot of older single-family residences.

We have been acquiring $ two per square foot in rent on typical here, which is unheard of. Off the strip, the Ogden had the highest rent per square foot. Generally, when you convert a rental building to a for-sale home, you get 3 percent conversion. Renters are renters for a explanation. But in Las Vegas, it is nevertheless a lot more affordable to purchase than it is to rent. We had sales specials for our renters here, and 10 % of them now have contracts to buy. We’re closing some of these sales starting next week.

Are there other apartment-to-condo conversions going on right now?

No. The explanation why is that buyers would not be able to get mortgages in Las Vegas. This building is really the exception.

1 factor possibly operating to your benefit is there won’t be any high-rises constructed downtown anytime quickly.

It would expense $ 400 per square foot to build, so they’d have to sell for $ 650 per square foot. We’re promoting these in the higher-$ 200 per square foot range.

How have resales fared in the Ogden?

There have only been two. A single, interestingly sufficient, was by someone who wanted to upgrade with us. He sold his condo to purchase a bigger 1.

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