A prestige multi tower condo development in Fort Myers, Lee County, Miami is almost on its knees as tried and trusted investment magnets lose their power.
• $219 million condo project fails as investors lose interest • What’s to become of this white elephant? • And what will Bank of America do with the spoils
The huge Oasis Towers high-rise condo in Fort Myers, Lee County, Miami is up against a $157 million foreclosure suit, although the twin towers are still for sale. This is the second highest value foreclosure in Lee County after the $340 million claim involving Bell Tower Park, Tarpon Point Marina and an undisclosed rock mine at Bonita Springs.
The case against the owners of Oasis Towers, Miami’s Related Group is being brought by Bank of America in the Lee Circuit Court. The bank is claiming that Related Group failed to return the loan when it fell due in June 2009, and is also ignoring liens filed against the project. The case won’t prevent Bank of America continuing to market the 452 Oasis units it owns, according to John Stone who is the principal with Colliers Arnold who’s working on the sale.
Meantime the towers have been emptying steadily. Just one occupant remains in the 32 story Tower One – he’s Victor Vangelakos, a Weehawken, New Jersey, firefighter who purchased his unit in December 2008 and is still trying to reach agreement with Related on how to resolve his situation. The irony is that the Oasis project still envisages a further five towers that will increase total units from 440 to around 1000.
John Stone of Colliers Arnold likens foreclosure to a “slow moving train” that could take a further six months to be decided in Lee Circuit Court. Meantime John is continuing his efforts in the hope of achieving a sale.
The total project cost to date of Oasis Towers just east of Billy’s Creek was $219 million, according to a recent sales brochure that listed 199 apartments for sale in Tower One, plus another 226 in Tower Two.
According to Steve Luta, a local agent who brokered the sale of the land on which the towers stand, depressed prices and a glut of empty condos elsewhere render the units a less attractive investment.
You’ve got to think outside the box, he told me. A convention center or hotel project might be more feasible. Perhaps you could create an enclave or destination point.
But Don Paight, Myers Redevelopment Agency Executor Director is less impressed with these ideas. “The city has no plans along those lines”, he told me. “I think downtown is a better setting for that, with better access by conventioneers to restaurants and shopping, and that’s where the city is concentrating its efforts to get a convention center and hotel going”.