Monologue of a Laketown Wharf Buyer

by December 17, 2008 • 16 comments

If you are in the market for furniture, I have some for sale.  Actually, it’s a credit at Resort Interiors/Resort Ready Rooms.  I own $17,432.00 worth of furniture, accessories, custom window treatments, bedspreads and shower curtains.  However, I have never seen it (except in the store) nor do I have a condo to put it in!

You see, I’m one of the Laketown Wharf contract owners who decided, for us, the better financial decision would be to pay the developer an additional 5%, on top of the 10% we had put down, to get out of the contract rather than close.  We made that decision in July and signed the official termination agreement mid-August.  Now we have this furniture we do not need so the folks at Resort Interiors/Resort Ready Rooms are allowing me to transfer the majority of my credit (the custom window treatments, etc. are not returnable) to someone else who needs furniture!

You may be wondering why I bought furniture before closing on my condo.  I certainly wish I hadn’t.  If you want to read my condo story, then read on.  I bet many of you can relate :(.  If you just want to learn more about the furniture credit details, check out my craigslist ad.

History:
I’ve wanted a place at the beach for a long time.  I was never super serious, but in 2004, when the market was going crazy, I thought if we didn’t act soon, we’d never be able to afford a place at the beach so we jumped into the Real Estate frenzy by securing a contract at Laketown Wharf.

I had passed up a pre-construction opportunity in St. Pete Beach in 1998 that I regretted.  So, by golly, I wasn’t going to miss the PCB Real Estate bus!!  We couldn’t afford beachfront at the 2004 prices so we settled for what we believed (and I still do!) would one day be a very cool place to stay/live across from the beach.  We signed the hard contract in Feb 2005.

The ground-breaking ceremony was held in May 2005.  In August 2005, my husband shows me an article on msn.com titled “Condo market is showing signs of cooling”.  Ugh!

Nevertheless, I was still optimistic about Laketown Wharf.  In Sept 2006, I got my first mailing from Resort Interiors stating they were the preferred furnishing supplier for Laketown Wharf.  Since I was in Phase 2, I didn’t need to buy anything immediately but started my correspondence with them.  In Jan 2007, I got a second mailing encouraging me to choose and buy my furniture now because “I’d be able to rent my unit and make money on my investment soon after closing”.  They also had 2 other reasons why I should buy now and they even gave me a discount if I bought a package by a specific date!  So, I drove to Destin and visited their store in Feb 2007, finalized my decision, and bought my package that May.  I financed it free for a year but when my year was up, I had to write a check to the financing company and still no condo to put it in!!  BUT, by this time, the developer had starting coming down on prices.  In June 2008, I was notified that my unit was now only $299/sq ft., down from the contracted price of $376!  What a bargain!

But, my husband, being much smarter and less emotional than I, did not want to close.  I talked him in to going to Laketown Wharf, actually staying there, before making the final decision.  It was a nice stay even though many units were incomplete and there were no shops/restaurants open yet.  In fact, since I don’t like crowds, it was great – except for this obnoxious softball team staying there, but I won’t go into that.

The units are spacious and the staff/security guards were very nice and accommodating.  My son loved the two pools that were open.  The lake fountain show was wonderful and the walk to the beach was no big deal.  In fact, my son preferred the pools to the beach most days.  We talked about how cool the place will be once all the commercial space is occupied.  I was ready to close when we came home but after many hours of crunching numbers, we decided walking away from our deposit would be the best thing for us to do.

Present Day:
I’ve heard the current offer to those folks who still have contracts with Laketown Wharf (whether in a law suit or not) is $224/sq. ft.  Not sure where the bottom is.  The bank says they plan to furnish and rent ½ of the unsold units and I hear they are offering super low rent rates to get commercial business in.

In the meantime, I still have this furniture credit I would like to sell to one of you lucky folks who managed to time the market better than I.  Or maybe you’re looking to replace some of your current furniture.  Whatever your reason, you’ll save money by purchasing this credit.  The ladies at Resort Interiors/Resort Ready Rooms are wonderful to work with and I appreciate them for allowing this transfer of credit.

The amount of credit available for transfer is $15,027.  The window treatments are non-refundable but if you’re in the market for custom window treatments, bedspreads, etc.  I’ll be happy to get the measurements and see if they work for you.  I paid $2,405 for them and am willing to take $2000.  Check out my craigslist ad.

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16 Comments

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1 sam December 17, 2008 at 2:41 pm

very sad story, i know of 2 stories like yours, wish u good luck

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2 Corus Watcher December 18, 2008 at 12:15 pm

Thank you for sharing that history. The decision you both made, while difficult, will most likely position you for the bottom of the condo market.

While this is just my opinion, I believe that bottom will not be reached until 3 or 4 more quarters have passed with unemployment stabalized at current level. There are simply too many variables that are still not known and for most people with money, the safest thing is to do nothing.

The boomers with means will return to the market for their beach/retirement property as soon as they see significant stabalization in the credit and financial markets.

If the bottom coincides with extremely low mortgage rates, the inventory will be exhausted within a short time frame and the cycle of building will begin again.

PCB looks like a great place to shop that market in the next two years.

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3 Ms Condo December 19, 2008 at 7:16 am

we bought a condo and closed in 6/2005 with basically the intent of a second home and rent it out to take of some of the pressure off the taxes, fees, etc. However, after the price had come down 40%, we bought two more units this year, as more of an investment and believe now and 2009 are just great buying opportunities for PCB! We bought 1 bdroom units in Calypso and Shores of Panama for the mid-upper 200’s and there are still some available for these great prices.

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4 John December 23, 2008 at 8:36 am

I am sorry you got stuck,
but suspect you will not get
anywhere near the price you are
now asking for the stuff.
No condo sales = no furniture market.
I have seen more than a couple places
close thier doors this year, and the
forclosures are making nearly new and
unused furniture very cheap.
Shoot the messenger if you want,
but that’s what I see.

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5 Troy December 23, 2008 at 9:30 am

I’m very sorry you canceled your contract and you have that large credit. I went LTW the other day and I thought it was soo amazing. There is a lot of negative comments about the resort but once you step in side, you’ll do a complete 180. Or at least I did.

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6 RMA December 23, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Hi All! Monologue author here! Thank you all for your comments. I’ve been following Laketown Wharf/PCB developments via PCBDaily.com for a long time now and was hoping I’d get some good dialogue as well as some interest in my credit. Thanks to Jason for publishing my post and keeping us so informed on PCB news!!

John: As for the credit not being a good price, I disagree. No surprise there and I promise not to shoot! But, the way I see it, if the furniture stores are selling stuff dirt cheap, then someone can take my credit at Resort Interiors and get a lot more furniture, etc. than I did. I bought furniture and accessories for a 2 BR + bunk condo. With dirt cheap prices, now you might be able to get furniture, electronics, kitchenware, custom window treatments and bedspreads for a 3 BR + bunk with the credit amount. And you’re getting the credited amount at a discounted price! Of course, I’m certainly willing to negotiate as are most sellers these days!

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7 Ryan December 24, 2008 at 10:22 am

I’ll start the bidding at $5k

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8 RMA December 24, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Ouch. That just hurts! Merry Christmas all!

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9 DRH December 27, 2008 at 10:38 am

With units going for $100 to $150/sq ft at auction LTW needs to petition the bankruptcy court to offer the units at these prices for all potential buyers versus the $224/sq ft for the first 50 takers. They might be able to save this development and help those left holding contracts if they are willing to offer the units at fair market value. Also, if fair market value is being established at $100 to $150/sq ft can you get financing at $224/sq ft?

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10 Corus Watcher December 27, 2008 at 11:49 am

DRH,

Corus created a subsidiary company to hold LTW. The only reason this project is in bankruptcy is so Corus can protect itself from future claims. The bankruptcy process will draw out any claims and settle them. Any claims by the buyers that did not settle prior to September will have to go through that process. It is unlikely that Corus’ subsidiary will have to refund anything to a buyer that did not settle with the developer.

Corus’ subsidiary does not need to petition the court for anything. LTW will emerge free of future claims and Corus will invest $15m to furnish half of the units and complete the project.

The only questions that remain are how long it may take Corus to sell all the units and how much will they bring in.

If Corus’ balance sheet can stand the pressure of the buildings they have and will take on, they could hold onto LTW for 2-3 years as units are sold off. Corus is only hurt if sale prices continue to decline so they will not do anything to exacerbate the problem in PCB.

One thing is certain. There will not be a new condo building started in any city in the US until 70-80% of the current inventory is absorbed by people willing to take on the condo as a residence or long term investment property.

Only the very knowledgeable, very brave, or those with deep pockets will step into this condo market.

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11 FisheadRay December 27, 2008 at 2:14 pm

If you would check http://www.bankrate.com you will find that Corus bank is on it’s last leg,,,Then use to advertise as the Condo Developers Bank…Their stock is down to ONE BUCK a share….it won’t be long before the FEDs own the property…If you have any money in it…you would be better off just holding off on closing at the High Asking Price of the former Developer…Deal with the Feds and get some of your tax money back from them….

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12 Corus Watcher December 27, 2008 at 6:52 pm

Hey Ray,

Corus is far from being seized by the Feds. It can happen. But right now it’s unlikely too. And a banks stock price in this environment is not at all indicative of whether they will fail.

You may want to brush up on analyzing balance sheets, income statements and first mortgages before you take Bankrate.com’s advice on anything. Go to the analyst section of FDIC.gov and you’ll see the data that I see.

It was Corus’ first mortgage that allowed them to take LTW from its developer without litigation.

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13 RMA January 22, 2009 at 2:14 pm

My original craigslist ad expired. Here is the new url: http://panamacity.craigslist.org/fuo/1003248097.html

BTW – the bidding is up to $5500. Jamie (I think that was the name on the post) is currently the highest bidder. The message was posted when Jason was moving sites so his post and my reply were accidently lost. In any case, my minimum has not been reached yet. I’m thinking about calling Corus to see if they want my credit to help furnish their 300 units!

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14 FisheadRay January 22, 2009 at 7:38 pm

When you find a Lender that will lend 90% LTV please publish them…Thanks

Fisheadray

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15 RMA February 6, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Well, on a hunch, after reading Jason’s latest news about Laketown Wharf and Corus, I googled “Resort Interors, Destin, FL” and found a news story from Wed (Feb 4) stating Resort Interiors is going out of business and having a liquidation sell starting next Feb 13th. What the…?? Surely they can’t just sell my furniture without notifying me?? Or can they? Guess I’ll be headed down there with a UHaul next weekend. UGH!

Here is the article: http://www.panhandleparade.com/index.php/mbb/article/resort_interiors_closing_after_14_years/14051/

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16 Jason Koertge February 7, 2009 at 8:22 am

RMA, that stinks big time. If you need help loading, call me and I’d be glad to come out.

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