Monday, July 02, 2007
As mentioned in our "DC Condo Growth to Slow" column from Friday, the number of condominium units coming to market is less than originally projected, as developers pull back in the face of uncertain market perceptions and cancel new projects, or reverse plans to convert apartments to condo units. The latter progression – apartments to condos, then back to rentals, or "conversion reversion" – is what is now being reported for a major residential development in Leesburg. In 2005, Reston-based Comstock Homebuilding Cos. announced plans to convert Bellemeade Farms, a 316-unit garden apartment community located on Gateway Drive just off Route 7 that it had just purchased from Fairfield Residential, into condominium units. However, this past February the company, after upgrading a number of units and actually selling 58 condos in the new project, decided to scale back the number of condo conversions in the community. And now Comstock has decided to forgo the project completely, just last week closing on the $48 million sale of the community to Chicago-based Waterton Associates. Waterton will now develop the property as, once again, rentals. Waterton has also worked with Comstock to purchase back the already-sold-as-condo units. Rentals to condos to rentals … to who knows what next time – stay tuned.