Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Monument's Southwest Condo Reboots After Lehman Brothers

In a market lean on financing and glutted with faltering projects, Monument Realty announced Monday that their Potomac Place Tower in DC's southwest will move forward with renovation and sales, having secured the support of a new lender. Potomac Place Tower, a 396-unit condominium at 800 4th Street in Southwest Washington, DC, has been stalled since Lehman Brothers, the primary lender, filed for bankruptcy last September. Designed by Cloethiel Woodard Smith and built in 1959, Potomac Place Tower and Monument Realty were saved from sharing the same fate as another southwest renovation and (failed) condo conversion, The View, which recently sold at foreclosure.

Monument obtained the project as the Capitol Park Apartments in 2001, the aesthetically challenged building was registered as historic landmark in 2003, and in 2005 residents elected to convert it to condominiums; sales began back in March, 2006. Monument employed architect Jane Nelson to renovate and redesign the interiors. According to Natasha Stancill, Director of Marketing at Monument Realty, the owner stopped settling units early last fall, but did continue to sign contracts through the spring with purchasers who were willing to wait out the unresolved financing problems. With the recent announcement, Monument expects to have units available for settlement in the next 30 to 45 days.

In a press release, Monument advertised that Potomac Place Tower has units in the $200,000 range available for occupancy in the next 30 days, including studio, one bedroom, one bedroom with den, and two bedroom units. Records show that Monument sold 132 of the units in the North Tower, with an average price of $241,000. According to Stancill, the North tower renovation is complete and 17 units will be available for settlement in the next 30 days, while the remaining 35 units of the North tower should be ready for settlement come the 1st quarter of 2010. The South tower project is not complete; half of the 200 units there should be ready for settlement in the next 30 days, with the remaining 100 ready before the end of the year.

DC's land records reveal that on January 26, 2009 Lehman assigned Potomac Place to SwedBank AB's New York branch. In a statement, Michael J. Darby, founding Principal of Monument Realty, said that Monument worked with the lender (SwedBank) to resolve a "very complicated situation" and was "pleased to be in a position to pay contractors and vendors and to bring the project back to market." You can bet the vendors and contractors are very pleased too.

Post your comments about this project below


Anonymous said...

Why the snarky comment about "aesthetically challenged"? So you don't like Mid-Century Modern, hunh? The building's exterior is historically protected for a reason--and yes, that includes its exceptional aesthetics.

Ken on Aug 28, 2009, 4:32:00 PM said...

Well, because we're snarky, its just who we are. Both our facts and the opinions are totally free. Thanks for your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I am a former investor with Potomac Place Tower and Monument Realty. Just a word of caution: Monument Realty is one of the most unreliable companies out there. My experience with them was absolutely disastrous! I would highly recommend NOT buying from them.

In addition, PPT has had numerous problems and Monument Realty has NOT been responsive on time (or at all). Just to mention a few and ones you would want to check out when you visit the property:

- EXTREMELY thin walls and ceilings (you can even hear neighbors turning in their beds at night)
- The AC and heating units in the apartments are so extremely loud, you can barely sleep at night. They kept the OLD structure of AC units and it is not good at all!
- The common areas have been completely deplorable since people started moving in, in 2007! I believe some updates are being done now… but definitely not enough!
- Gas leaks AND water leaks have been reported throughout the building.
- There have also been complaints about hot and cold water… sometimes people have one OR the other, but not both.
- There have been a lot of reports of RATS! The gym smells like dead rats all the time.
- And before you move in, make sure they have changed the elevators. On several occasions the doors would open and the elevator would be on another floor! Talk about dangerous!

Monument Realty leaves A LOT to hope for. The building is NOT in excellent condition and the developers are not very honest.

It is a big investment to have to deal with so many issues. Do your research before you think about investing!

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