Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bargains: 40 Vetro Units on Auction Block

The Chicago Tribune's Mary Ellen Podmolik reported today that Roszak/ADC will auction 40 of 100 unsold units in its 233-unit Vetro condo development at 611 S. Wells. The auction will take place at 1 p.m., Saturday, March 7, at the W Chicago Hotel - City Center, 172 W. Adams. She writes, in part:

When Roszak/ADC began marketing Vetro, a 31-story development in the South Loop, the marketing materials talked of the architecture, the floor-to-ceiling windows and the fitness center. That was in 2006. Next month, it all will boil down to price.

Made with the blessing of its lenders, the decision is a money-losing move, but not one of total desperation. In addition to jump-starting sales, the goal of the auction is to determine how much the condos would be worth if sold conventionally.

It's not the first auction by a local developer willing to take some lumps and move on, and it's unlikely to be the last. Faced with impatient lenders, skittish consumers and unsold inventory, developers are starting to dispose of properties by any means possible.

"We're talking to a ton of developers," said Chicago-based auctioneer Rick Levin. "Some have 10 properties and some have hundreds. Many developers owe more than their property is worth."

In December, 44 condos at McKinley Park Lofts and 22 townhouses and condos at Jazz on the Boulevard were auctioned.

Vetro developer Thomas Roszak, who said the units auctioned will be sold at a loss, hopes to relaunch the building and sell the remaining units conventionally after he gets a sense of their value from the auction.

A one-bedroom unit at Vetro that was at $226,000 carries a minimum bid of $150,000. Bidding for a penthouse unit, once marketed at $900,000, will start at $415,000. One parking space is included with each unit.

Accelerated Marketing Partners, which is handling the Vetro auction, conducted 50 residential auctions last year, up from a handful in 2007. For details on the Vetro auction, click here.

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