Keeping the Lights On: With Buyers Scarce, Condos Turn to Rental

by George Waldon  on Monday, Sep. 12, 2011 12:00 am  

CityGrove, on Maple Street in North Little Rock, has six units sold out of 14.

"We're not doing anything new marketingwise, but things seem to be picking up," said Tom Rystom, partner in the apartment-to-condo conversion project at 3700 Cantrell Road in Little Rock's Riverdale area.

"We have a couple [units] under contract. It's slow, but we're developing momentum. I feel pretty encouraged."

Prices for Riviera condos range from $185,000 for 695-SF units on floors 2-4 to $879,000 for 2,850-SF units on the 11th floor.

Alex Marks, senior vice president of Tower Investments, said an aggressive marketing push to attract residents to its Lafayette Square project was a success. Six units have sold and 24 are leased to push occupancy at the downtown Little Rock redevelopment at 523 Louisiana St. to 100 percent.

"We're pretty much leased up from a condo standpoint, Marks said. "We're doing well, but it can always be better."

The starting point for Lafayette Square condos: $119,900 for one-bedroom units and $169,900 for two-bedroom units.

Brad Canada, partner in The Residences at Building 5 at 400 W. Markham St., has refrained from entering the lease-to-own marketing wars.

He sees the flurry of activity generated by competing projects as a good thing for his downtown Little Rock development.

"We're seeing more people come downtown, whether they're renting or buying," Canada said. "That's a positive. It's certainly important to get the inventory number down."

Condo sales at Chenal Woods are approaching 20 units, with a sale scheduled to close Sept. 9 and five units on a lease-to-purchase plan.

Henry Jordan Jr., partner in the west Little Rock project near the northwest corner of Chenal Parkway and Rahling Road, said the lease-to-own program was started about three months ago in response to the push by downtown condo developers to fill unsold units.

"We're underwriting those people, so they can close if they want to," he said. "One hundred percent of the rent paid comes off the down payment or purchase price.

 

 

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