Wed, 30 July 2008
July 30, 2008
Quail Hollow Estates:
Our 33 gently rolling, park like acres are located within the northwest quadrant of
Our beautifully appointed clubhouse has a fully equipped kitchen, library, bar, game rooms, meeting room and spacious living room, lending itself very well to the many planned activities centered here.
Wed, 30 July 2008
July 29, 2008
Mon, 28 July 2008
July 28, 2008
And in my own neighborhood, I like the differences in age, in race, in religion, in orientation, even the grumpy ones have their moments. And maybe that would not suit everyone. Maybe some wear out their joy in crying babies and boisterous teens.
Sun, 27 July 2008
July 26, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo,
No housing ‘bubble' here, just normal market ups and downs.
Karla Hammer Knotts
From Karla Hammer Knotts, owner of Land Matters, a real estate consulting company:
If you're waiting for home prices in
Released at the end of each month, the Case-Shiller Index measures home prices in 20
Why such alarming predictions? Seven of the 20 markets analyzed in Case-Shiller are from hard hit-areas in the West and
For an example of a disconnect between the index and reality in
So what's really happening in
Our market had excess permits in 2006 and 2007. Those houses have now sold and permits are balancing with demand. This is good news for homeowners. For prices to stabilize and rebound, builders must eliminate inventory of finished homes. To opportunistic homebuyers, this is a signal that now is the time to buy.
Fri, 25 July 2008
July 24, 2008
Fri, 25 July 2008
July 24, 2008
“No change in schedule for the office tower,” he said. As for the planned condo, he said it is “of great interest to us.” However, Wachovia might pursue that project with a partner.
Uptown's condo market has struggled in the downturn, with two towers postponed, one in foreclosure and another stalled by a legal dispute. David Furman, one of
And on another tower, from hotel-condo to hotel:
A sliver of land beside Time Warner Cable arena that didn't work for a large condo-hotel development is getting a 16-story hotel without the condos.
LodgeWorks of Wichita, Kan., plans to start construction this summer of a 163-suite Hotel Sierra on a third of an acre on the
Denny Meikelham, senior vice president of development, said LodgeWorks originally cooperated with
When the plan fell through last year due to site restrictions and construction costs, LodgeWorks decided to buy the land from the city and proceed on its own.
“There is so much opportunity in this area, and it's close to everything,” Meikelham said. “This is a forever location. It's only going to get better with the NASCAR Hall of Fame and what's going to happen around it.”
He expects construction of the $35 million project to take about 14 months, which would put the opening in late 2009.
Thu, 24 July 2008
Jul. 23, 2008
Fall could be a catalyst for new condo's success so w rites Doug Smith of The Charlotte Observer
The Catalyst has already sold 58 of its 462 units. And the developer is pleased.
A rendering of the Catalyst condo tower under construction on
The Uptown condo market has suffered setbacks over the past few months, but that apparently isn't scaring buyers away.
The Catalyst, a 27-story tower under construction on
It does have a ways to go – the project includes 462 residences priced from the $180,000s to more than $300,000 – but given the season and the economic climate,
“Fall is always a good time in uptown
Condo developers are selling in the face of some of the worst news the uptown housing market has seen since the center city high-rise boom began about four years ago. Two towers are postponed, one is in foreclosure and another is stalled by a legal dispute.
Developers are reluctant to try new high-rise projects, as lenders aren't interested in financing them until the economy improves.
Yet “inventory is line with a healthy market,” said multifamily analyst Emma Littlejohn of the Littlejohn Group. “The problem is with delivery.”
Littlejohn said about 1,200 high-rise and mid-rise units are under construction or in the pre-sale stage in the center city, and more than half of those are under contract for sale.
With four major projects now in doubt, Littlejohn said, a bigger issue for the center city could be a potential undersupply of high-rise condos.
She wasn't surprised to see an initial surge in demand at Catalyst. “People are out there on the sidelines,” she said. “They still need a place to live.”
Field said buyers today are less impulsive and more likely to secure financing before making an offer.
Catalyst, unlike most condo projects, was started without a pre-sales campaign and is expected to open early next year.
“It gives people more confidence to know they don't have to wait two years,” Field said.
Novare targets 25- to 40-year-old buyers with a predominance of one-bedroom units and amenities packages that include a fitness center, a club room, a pool, an Internet cafe and concierge service. About 65 percent of Catalyst's condos are one bedroom.
A good mix of one- and two-bedroom units have sold, Field said, with the project being typical for a high-rise: “The most expensive and least expensive tend to sell right away.”
Catalyst (catalystcharlotte.com) will overlook a planned uptown park, and that was a lure for many of the initial buyers, Field said.
Also a factor: gas prices. “Many of the people who come in are asking where the light-rail stop is in relation to the project,” she said.
Wed, 23 July 2008
July 22, 2008
Council OKs tower on
No opposition voiced; controversy over views
By Clay Barbour
Developers are planning a 230-foot apartment tower, a 200-plus foot office tower and a 180-foot hotel on approximately 2.74 acres next to The Arlington (in background).
The Charlotte City Council Monday approved a rezoning bid for another high-rise tower along
The approval came in spite of the recent controversy over the proposal. Residents of the nearby
But on Monday no one spoke against the proposal and the council passed it unanimously.
“We are excited and a little surprised,” said Tracy Finch of the Harris Development Group. “We expected more opposition.”
Harris applied for a rezoning of the former Simpson's Lighting property. The apartment tower is part of a $200 million project that includes a 200-plus-foot-tall office building and 180-foot-tall hotel on approximately 2.74 acres.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Zoning Committee unanimously backed the $200 million project last month, with some changes.
But earlier this month some residents of The Arlington, South End's 300-foot-tall pink residential high-rise, complained that the new project would block their views and lower property values. They said they have a right to their views in the non-legally binding South End Transit Station Area Plan approved in 2005 – about two years after The Arlington opened. That plan caps building height in the area at 120 feet.
Hundreds of thousands of dollars sometimes separate condos with views of the city from those without. At The Arlington, available condos facing away from the city are larger and cost around $335 per square foot. Available uptown-facing units top out around $372 per square foot.
Finch, who spent the early part of Monday going back and forth between council members, said the idea that Harris' new project would hurt
“They will go up thanks to us, she said. The Arlington isn't without its own controversy. Some residents of the Factory South Lofts complained about their view being blocked when the tower was built.
And Counter Point:
Reporting live, from City Council: Mary Newsom of The Charlotte Observer
Mon, 21 July 2008
July 21, 2008
Sat, 19 July 2008
July 19, 2008
City treats its plans as if they're on Kleenex
What's the point of plans if they get dumped to suit developers?
It was oddly appropriate that the article about a proposed apartment-hotel-office tower project in South End was positioned on the Observer's front-page right next to one about scams and counterfeit Panthers' tickets. You might view the City Council's 2005 approval of a 120-foot height limit for that part of South End as a similar scam, a sort of counterfeit assurance to neighbors.
The proposal, from Harris Development Group, has won a positive recommendation from the development-loving zoning committee of the city's Planning Commission and is due for a July 21 yes-or-no vote from the City Council.
The city planning staff also smiles upon it, because it's near a station on the light rail line. “That site can support that density,” planner Tim Manes told the Observer's Dan Tierney. “Sometimes when you have density you have to have height.”
So what's the problem? Simply this. The 120-foot height limit – which allows 10- to 11-story buildings – is common throughout many city plans adopted for older parts of town. It's the height limit in the city's MUDD, or mixed-use development, and TOD, or transit-oriented district, zonings. It's the limit in the Transit Station Area Principles. In reality, allowing buildings that tall is too lenient to be of any protection to the bungalow-filled neighborhoods such as Dilworth's historic district, that tend to border the light rail line, planned future rail lines and corridors where MUDD zoning is most likely.
City plans aren't legally binding. They're merely merely suggestions to developers. Even MUDD and TOD zoning, binding once applied to a property, offer generous wiggle room for developers who want taller buildings.
Some neighbors of the proposed 230-foot-tall South End tower complain that they bought condos in the 300-foot-tall
If the city approves this violation of the South End Transit Station Area Plan, it will be yet another in a lengthy litany of city decision-makers treating plans as if they're written on Kleenex. Residents all over town should take it as confirmation that even when the council approves an area plan, it might well be as counterfeit as a fake Panthers ticket. You might say it's the city's planning scam.
Fri, 18 July 2008
July 18, 2008
The bill requires mortgage servicers to give at least 45 days notice before they start foreclosure proceedings on subprime loans.
Notice also must be filed with the state commissioner of banks, who will review individual loans to determine whether they can somehow avoid foreclosure. If that’s the case, the commissioner will have the right to extend by 30 days the date on which lenders can start foreclosure proceedings. The state banking office then will work with borrowers and servicers to work out a deal.
Problems with housing are much worse in most other areas of the country than they are in
The bill passed the state House on Thursday. The Senate has already approved the measure. Gov. Mike Easley is expected to sign the bill.
Good for Spectrum. Atta guys!
Thu, 17 July 2008
July 17, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in
Wed, 16 July 2008
July 16, 2008
RISMEDIA, July 14, 2008-Amidst the gloom on Wall Street about housing someone forgot to check the stats. The National Association of Realtors® has now reported four straight months of rising housing prices, but it seems no one is listening.
According to NAR statistics, the median home price has fallen from a high of $230,200 in July 2006 to a low in February 2008 at $195,600, a drop of 15%. Since February, however, it has risen steadily every month. By May the index (which will be revised on July 24) had risen to $208,600, up $13,000 and a full 6.6%. Another indicator, the mean home price (otherwise known as the average home price), has also shown strength and has risen from a low of $242,000 also in February of this year to $253,100, a rise of $11,100 or 4.5%. It, too, has risen every month since February of this year.
“I just don’t know where Wall Street’s brains are today,” said David Michonski, CEO of Coldwell Banker Hunt Kennedy in
In addition, on an annualized basis the volume of home sales has also risen somewhat from a low of 4,890,000 homes in January to 4,990,000 in May.
“Rising prices on expanding volume should not a crisis make on Wall Street,” says Michonski.
So why the crisis?
“They say that there are bulls and bears on Wall Street but there are also pigs. Pigs try not just to profit from a crisis but create one to profit from. Today there are just so many people who have positioned themselves to profit from a crisis that they refuse to admit the reality of what is happening on
Is this the bottom?
“No one can know for sure, but the hard data is clear. The median price has risen four straight months. The average American is out there taking advantage of bargains in their local real estate market. They are not listening to Wall Street but following their own belief that the best time to buy is when no one else is, and they are out there buying. If this keeps up, February may prove to have been the low in prices.”
“It is possible that it will not be Hank Paulson or Ben Bernanke who will pull this country out of a housing recession, but the good common sense of the average American whose affordability to buy a home is at a five year high and is acting on it.”
Tue, 15 July 2008
July 15, 2008
Organic Gardening magazine helps
By Catherine Carlock/The Charlotte Observer
To serve the needy with fresh produce from their garden, the
Fried green tomatoes aren't just the stuff of summertime chick flicks. They're one of the staple foods of the
The center received a $9,000 grant from Organic Gardening magazine to install a rainwater harvesting system. The 1,600-gallon cistern collects runoff water from the
The roof is “the perfect rain collector,” garden program director Don Boekelheide said.
Instead of using only donated food, which is often close to expiration, the center can grow much of its own food for its soup kitchen.
“We grow things that people like to eat,” said Boekelheide. That includes okra, black-eyed peas, sweet potatoes, squash, cucumbers, and a summer mainstay – tomatoes.
Last summer's water restrictions forced the garden's food production to a bare minimum. And
“That's where the cistern comes in,” said Boekelheide.
This summer, instead of battling short periods of heavy rain followed by weeks of no rain at all, the cistern provides a consistent source of irrigation for the center's garden.
This week's thunderstorms have provided enough water to fill the entire tank.
“The cistern gives us the water to carry us between rainstorms,” Boekelheide said.
Boekelheide knows it's a small solution. But it's saving
“We're feeding people who are hungry here,” he said.
Mon, 14 July 2008
Monday, July 14, 2008
Senate earmarks $18M for The U.S. Senate’s proposed transportation budget for 2009 contains $18 million for expanding
Charlotte Area Transit System requested. The proposed 11-mile rail line extension would run from
The light rail extension would be a continuation of the 9-mile track that parallels
Sat, 12 July 2008
July 12, 2008
The Charlotte Observer/DOUG SMITH
A lot of people are holding their breath in Banktown these days.
Troubled Wachovia Corp. has selected a new chief executive officer with impressive credentials, but he doesn't walk on water.
Even as the announcement of former U.S. Treasury Department official Bob Steel's hiring came Wednesday, bank officials predicted second-quarter losses could reach $2.8 billion.
Wachovia's uptown neighbor, Bank of America, hasn't been immune either from the nation's sub-prime lending and financial markets turmoil.
Wachovia and Bank of America are builders of the center city skyline, patrons of the arts, pillars of the economy.
If they falter, what happens to
Many worry that a weakened Wachovia could be acquired, losing its independence and hometown allegiance to
Real estate brokers say potential homebuyers who perceive their financial center jobs in doubt already are pulling back, wary of what might happen.
The uptown condo market in particular has thrived on a supply of young professionals, many of whom are employees of banks or in financial businesses tied to the growth of banks.
If hiring for those jobs wanes or if more layoffs come – and some say they already are under way – what happens?
Real estate developers believe there's little chance that a half a dozen or so residential towers proposed uptown – but not yet started – will get under way this year. Lenders will be skittish about financing them, they say, until the housing market shows solid signs of recovery.
Landlords in the office-leasing market are concerned, too.
One major office-condo-retail development – 300 South Tryon – was postponed earlier this year over worries that a bank slowdown could squelch office demand.
The city's big towers have filled with tenants in large part because the bank anchors pulled in law firms and other related vendors around them.
If the banks aren't growing, who leases the estimated 1 million-plus square feet of speculative office space expected to come on the market over the next two years?
Maybe the financial bleeding will stop, and everything will work out for
Some economists can see a turnaround coming possibly by mid-2009.
But in the meantime, nail biting has become the norm in Banktown.
The city's Hugh McColl Jr. swagger has faded.
Remember how the former Bank of America chairman used to dazzle stock market analysts in
They're too busy defending their actions to Wall Street analysts and fending off angry shareholders.
How quickly fortunes can be reversed. In Banktown, this is something we never thought we would see when our banking giants were flying high just over a year ago.
Fri, 11 July 2008
July 11, 2008
Looking for a sign…
All going on in
Thu, 10 July 2008
July 10, 2008
By Nichole Bell
South End projects
Several residential projects are under way in South End along the light rail line. They include:
Silos at South End: The first phase of the project at
SouthHaus: This project located at
Circle at South End: This 360-apartment building on
Ashton South End: Located at
The number of people living in Historic South End is expected to triple in the next two years, reaching a population of about 7,000 residents, according to
The rush of residents comes as developers begin to complete several housing projects in the area.
Much of the growth, they say, is because of the light rail.
“It's very rare that you see an entire residential neighborhood established overnight,” said James Mathis III, director of Historic South End. “It'll be exciting to see all those people walking around in the area at 11 o'clock at night.”
Historic South End spans from
The area was a thriving manufacturing community in the 1850s. It declined when the textile industry faded in the '70s and '80s. Revitalization efforts in the '90s brought a crop of restaurants, shops and design-related industries. Many were interested in reusing the old mill buildings and warehouses.
The launch of light rail in November has also helped South End.
The projected growth would push South End close to Uptown's existing population of 10,800.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Wed, 9 July 2008
July 9, 2008
But the resemblance to the sub-prime ends there. I read an article today, I’ll quote, sometimes the rating agencies deviated from their own models and their own procedures. The problems were serious enough to cause concern among employees of the agencies themselves as cited by internal e-mails uncovered in the SEC review.
Tue, 8 July 2008
July 8, 2008
The 74/26 Vantage Point…
Much of the growth, they say, is because of the light rail.
Historic South End spans from
Mon, 7 July 2008
July 7, 2008
into a serious roadblock: permits for sewer and water are not easy to come by.
Due to the rapid growth and the inability for infrastructure to keep up, many
developers are having trouble securing sewer permits. Drought conditions have
also forced a moratorium on water permits. Officials have some ideas for ad-
dressing the county's sewer and water needs, but some of the required projects
could take up to 15 years.
The problem has already slowed development in what has recently been among the nation's fastest-growing counties.
challenges ...I just didn't know we were absolutely out.
The county's primary wastewater facility, 12 Mile Creek, near Waxhaw , was
built in the 1980s, for what was a much-less-populated
Last year, the state rejected 30 sewer permits for various construction projects
around the county, including residential developments, two hospitals and other
commercial developments. Sewer space was then allocated to those projects based on a tiered priority plan and so construction on many of those projects has moved forward.
The Downturn buys time ...
.The slow economy might actually be a good thing in this instance. Union County Manager Al Greene noted that due to the economy, he's not sure they would have as much development as they'd had in the recent past, even if the sewer and water permits weren't an issue. He said the slowing market gives them time to negotiate and work on building their infrastructure, and perhaps by the time the market picks up they'll be in a position to move forward. Greene said that while this is not a good situation to be in, this is probably the best time to have this problem - while the economy is slowing and demand is down. He said there is never a good time to have these capacity challenges that we have, but with the current market conditions, now is probably as good a time as any .
Sat, 5 July 2008
July 5, 2008
I received, however, a letter from our homeowners association stating that severe water penetration issues have been discovered in several of the condominiums in our complex, but not in our unit, and the exterior stucco had to be removed and the outer structure in these Units needed to be rebuilt. The letter also speculates that the
water issues may be much worse than expected and further investigations have begun.
In signing the purchase agreement, I had to disclose this information by forwarding this letter to the buyers, and the buyers obviously backed out of the purchase agreement. I offered the buyers a $10,000 escrow account that they could use toward future special
assessments levied within the next year. The buyers signed the purchase agreement again and everyone is following through with the sale process.
My question is do I have any legal recourse against the association, or anyone else? The association has essentially made our property value worthless and unsalable in this market. We lost our purchase agreement because of their actions -or inaction. ,
The complex was built in 1984, so action against the builder is outside the 10-year window. The condo association has claimed they have been inspecting the stucco every two years for the last decade or so. The only confirmed time I know about was in 2006, and they didn't report any problems then. They have apparently been inspecting using a moisture probe.
Right now, I'm stuck with this property. I can't turn it over to the bank; they obviously
won't take it. I can't even short-sell it, because no one else will buy it. I just have to continue making double housing payments and hope another buyer comes along who doesn't notice the problems if the buyer I have fails to get to closing.
determine when they will obtain bids to make the repairs and how much each unit
will be assessed. This information will possibly help in selling the unit or entering into a short sale with the lender. The events have placed you in a difficult position with no clear or immediate solutions.
Fri, 4 July 2008
July 4, 2008
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in Charlotte, NC
Sometimes Homes Come With History…
In my role as a real estate broker, my days are spent on the phone, in front of a computer, driving in and around our market place looking at new construction, visiting different sites around the county…and like yesterday, previewing over a dozen properties for buyers I worked with this holiday. Last last night I ulled the ones we wouldn’t see and made appointments for those I thought fit the bill.
Today we met and set about to look at various homes. The first had been a rental in a nice complex and the owners had spent some money painting, putting in a new heating and air unit…the place was vacant…even of voices or smells or signs of anyone who had lived there…and the second condo in the same complex was occupied and we were met at the door. There was history of a remodeled kitchen, a closet door off the track, boxes in the closets making preparation for the next move…to an even smaller space…as we all begin to know the value and the necessity of scaling down.
The townhouse we next visited was also vacant only had been “staged”, the newest jargon in our business…someone had planted red flowers around the patio many years ago and left the cast iron angel hanging on the brick wall…
I could only hear whispers here.
The next was an historic building…feeling very much like a edifice out of
Next we visited a new condominium unit in Dilworth. There was good light and arched windows…but for my ears silence. I thought about how we shop for a nest and what we bring to it and what we leave. In the new, we will add our own colors, our own flowers, our own footprint. Surely in the older units, we also make changes, tearing out or building in…someone has been there before. Someone has lived there, been happy or sad there, celebrated or wept…I can feel much of that energy even though I try to just pass through.
And what I come away with much of the time is that home, home is indeed where the heart is.
Lynnsy Logue The Real Estate Lady and Condo CanDo in
Thu, 3 July 2008
July 3, 2008
Wed, 2 July 2008
July 2, 2008
Particularly in cities, the rise of roof-topping grasses, succulents and other vegetation is fueling a boom for landscape architects, growers, builders and consultants in the know. As the roofs bloom in size and number, cities are weighing new incentives to developers and owners to install the admittedly costly growing medium and plant life as a long-term investment that could benefit both businesses and surrounding communities. And with a strengthening infrastructure to support them, designers are branching out in new directions.
Steven Peck, founder and president of the Toronto-based industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities, said the industry’s “mother ship” hails from Europe, particularly
German policymakers quickly took notice of the advantages, including the potential to reduce both stormwater runoff and the urban heat island effect associated with asphalt, concrete and metal surfaces. In response, they created dozens of incentives and regulations encouraging more green roof construction. In the mid-‘90s, a European industry mostly dominated by French and German firms began expanding into
Peck, himself introduced to the idea in 1997, was tasked with leading a federal study on its benefits and barriers in
One of his committee member spent hours translating many of the studies into English. And even those reports sidestepped analysis of big-picture benefits that had been largely taken for granted.
A decade later, the industry has been buttressed by research and case studies detailing both individual benefits like savings on cooling costs and enhanced commercial values, and bigger-picture pluses like reduced air pollution and storm water overflows.
Another essential element has been building expertise across a talent pool that remains unevenly distributed. Peck’s group has been working for five years on an accreditation program modeled in part on LEED certification (Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design). The new Green Roof Professional, or GRP system, should roll out sometime next year, he said. In the meantime, Green Roofs for Healthy Cities has grown to include more than 80 corporate members and has trained more than 4,500 individuals. “You can’t have an industry unless you can have people who can design and deliver,” he said.