Thursday, January 17, 2008

Alexandria's Monarch Condopartments


President Bush's dream of an owner- ship society took another blow this week. Okay, it probably won't make the State of the Union, but the Monarch Condominiums in Old Town Alexandria are now the Monarch Apartments. Apparently Diamond Properties was struggling to keep the project in the black, selling a frustrating 16% of the 169 units since McWilliams Ballard began sales in July, 2005. Diamond is now adding Kettler to the mix.

This week's conversion continues the unremitting process of developers retooling projects that won't sell, into apartments, which generally do better in a market of skeptical buyers and skeptical lenders. Because they originally organized Monarch as a condominium project, Diamond has the legal ability to hawk individual condos at a later date, but buyers looking for homes in Old Town, Alexandria now have one less option - the supply is reduced to the Prescott, Cromley Lofts, Abingdon Row, and the Royalton. This trend mirrors the greater DC area, which has witnessed a large drop in condo supply due slowing construction and an influx of conversions from condos to rentals. Within the last 18 months, the DC (proper) condo pipeline has shrunk from an estimated projection of 18,000 units over the next two years, to a more modest 5,400 units, many of which are conversions of dated apartments and therefore fail to increase the housing supply.

Little is known about what will happen to the 28-or-so condo-owners that have purchased. A representative from Kettler indicated that a condo board is in place, and current owners would continue to occupy their units. Whomever they are, they can't be ecstatic about owning a home in an apartment building. Maybe the 17,000 s.f. of ground floor retail makes up for the loss, or perhaps the convenience of living four blocks from the Braddock Metro, or even the rooftop garden deck and in-house cinema room.

Kettler, who seems to be running the leasing side, will try to make up for lost time; a one bedroom, 700-s.f. apartment starts at $1885.

23 comments:

DG-rad on Jan 18, 2008, 2:08:00 PM said...

I was excited for the building before it was built. The renderings looked like it would be multi-colored. However, it is just another BRICK bohemoth. Why is it that new development is never Painted, like so many of the treasured brick rowhouses. Block after block of unpainted brick is not attractive.

Anonymous said...

Brick and mortar come in many colors. It's not really meant to be painted and becomes a maintenance item. It looks nice on some rowhomes but not great on larger buildings.

Anonymous said...

I hear that Metropole by Metropolis Development on P Street by the Whole Foods is having a hard time selling as condos and now the owners plan to sell the entire building as an apartment. There is an investment package being sent around to all the investment companies and brokerage firms. Isn't DCRealEstate.com selling that?

Anonymous said...

$1885 for 700 sq ft 1 bedroom? That is insane.

If your rumor about Metropole is true that is a real shame. There are alot of very interesting floorplans in that building and I certainly considered it, but they had so much interest when the building was launched that you had to call ahead way in advance for an appointment. But I think the prices there were also on the high side which put it out of reach for most people. I suppose they will be renting 1 bedroom units for $2200. :-( The sales market is crazy, but frankly the rental market around here is just as crazy. I am lucky to own my own place since before the boom started.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody know what is happening to all the supposed purchasers here that have walked from their contracts? Are they getting money back?

Anonymous said...

i hope they get their money back, what a shame. if only the building had sold better...

Anonymous said...

Metropole had sales people that I don't think had alot of experience in the area. The layouts were great and the location was as good as it gets. I went by once and got a cold reception from them and not much info.

Sheila on Jan 24, 2008, 9:16:00 PM said...

I think this is Ken's way of finally getting me to post. As head of the sales team for the Metropole, I am happy to report the building is NOT going rental. Rumors have been flying about every new construction project being built going rental, and some are, but not us. And I sincerely hope whoever had a bad experience at the sales center is referring to when it initially opened. We have Edwin, mimosas and a staff that all live and/or work within 2 blocks of the building now--what could be better?

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, sounds like sour grapes, and I can't believe you're right. I've brought 2 clients on numerous occasions, and gone to several of their parties, because each time our treatment has been exceptional and professional. I admit that I know one of the agents at the sales office, but have worked with the others and could only have positive things to say. Have you ever been to another sales office? Seriously, I question your sincerity.

DC Lover said...

soundds to me like what we call "haters." I used to work in the real estate world, and its possible all of these "anonymous" postings are from competing agents - it wouldn't surprise me...i've had quite a few bad experiences with petty and greedyy agents.

with that out of th e way, i like what u guys are doing and i might just go down to the metropole and check it out. on p street by whole foods?

Anonymous said...

While Metropole isn't necessarily "Going Rental", there is an offering book that has been sent out to the real estate community. If no one decides to buy, it will probably stay as condo, but it is going through the same process that countless other reversions went through.

I'm not bad mouthing the project, it's very nice, just stating a fact...

dcladee said...

Whatevs, metropole suxxx! u guyz dont know what ur talkin about. lol. sounds like u all work 4 dcrealestaet and dont want 2 look bad

Anonymous said...

with respect, who cares about Edwin and Mimosas??? We want prices that we can afford for this style of living! I went into Metropole and was greeted by him and his coffee, tea, or me. But he offered no real information about why you're NOT selling. After 4 years of marketing, Metropole is still for sale with over 70% still left (from what my agent told me). Added to that, the developer with the money is SELLING IT. You shouldn't mix the truth with your marketing. We ought to know that the building is being sold, or is for sale. If it gets a new owner, it could go rental, right? This is why I'm looking in a smaller building with much lower fees. So, Edwin can keep his cheap champagne.

GayForMimosas said...

You have mimosas!?!?!? I'll definitely buy $800,000 condo there now.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to DCMUD'S FIRST FLAME WAR!!!!!

Anonymous said...

The Monarch is the ugliest building in Alexandria, perhaps all of the DC area. All the neighbors HATE it. And the ground floor retail to which you refer is now only a Chinese carryout, a tacky, low rent gym, and a Starbucks. And the Monarch is right next to Alexandria's notorious Adkins housing project, which the City has recently said has no prospects for redevelopment for the next 20 years.

The other condo projects are selling much better than Monarch. The developers brought on this problem themselves.

Anonymous said...

The 28 unit owners are not at all happy about the situation and are currently determining what if any options are available to them at this time.

Anonymous said...

I'm one of the twenty eight owners who bought a condo unit in the Monarch. According to what I have been told by the developer, over 100 units had been sold at one point in time but only 28 of us have taken ownership. Folks walked away and left their deposits (I'm assuming between 30K-40K per unit). That is allot of cash to leave on the table. I think it is wise for the developer to rent the unsold units until the market recovers instead of lowering the prices and having the 28 of us left with a depreciated asset. I feel that the ~ 73 people that walked away are much to blame for this situation and should not get their deposits back. The developer is exploring ways to lower our monthly HOA dues, allow us to use the leasing company with no fee to us if we decide to rent our units. I believe in a few years this will be a good area to be in and will be a good investment.

Anonymous said...

I am one of the 70 people or so that walked. The construction job is terrible and this is clearly not an upscale condo as was advertised to me. I have an attorney working on my case and will decide on what litigation to take very soon. I am sorry for the people that did settle as the building is not that nice or soundly constructed.

Anonymous said...

The rental office sucks. They are not there when they should be. I imagine that they will have a difficult time renting the place or selling any units.

Anonymous said...

The last post is so appropriate. Diamond filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. This is the only news item reporting it, though it presents a very biased account. http://www.thedeal.com/servlet/ContentServer?cid=1231520953085&pagename=TheDeal%2FNWStArticle&c=TDDArticle

Anonymous said...

I am a renter at Monarch and have had an excellent experience! The staff is fantastic and having a front desk open until 11pm is a huge convenience. My apartment is gorgeous and I only walk 2 blocks to the Braddock metro. What more could I ask for?

Anonymous said...

What you could ask for is management that replies to emails and/or phone calls. After I moved in I was told by a leasing agent, "I told you there were bicycle racks, not that there was bicycle parking available." After emailing the building manager (who isn't actually at the building 2/3 of the time ) I've was told after two months that having 40 spaces at a building that has 160 apartments is adequate and they will not put in more.

 

DCmud - The Urban Real Estate Digest of Washington DC Copyright © 2008 Black Brown Pop Template by Ipiet's Blogger Template