Make us your home page
Instagram

Channelside condo buyers want deposits back

Since the Towers of Channelside condominium developers filed for bankruptcy in late January, a dozen or more buyers have either threatened or filed lawsuits to get their 10 percent deposits back.

Some claim they were pressured to close before construction was finished and others believe they were duped by shady business practices or altered contracts.

None of it's true, developer Rich Sacchi told City Times this week.

"These people are looking for every excuse to not close," Sacchi said. "We finished the work, we fulfilled our obligations and now it's up to them to fulfill theirs."

Sacchi believes that too many inexperienced investors got caught up in the hot 2004 real estate market when the twin towers' 257 units — worth $275,000 to $3-million — sold out within two weeks. When the time came to close late last year, two-thirds of the units went unclaimed. Several buyers walked away from their 10 percent deposits, leaving about $6.9-million behind.

It's not nearly enough to cover the $50-million to $100-million in debt that the developers have claimed in bankruptcy court, but they have asked a judge to use most of the deposit money toward paying off the debt, since the buyers defaulted on their contracts.

Local attorney Brett Wadsworth represents three clients who want that money back, saying there were problems with the contracts and that the building was unfinished at closing time.

Another attorney, Mike Rodriguez, said he represents a buyer looking to get her deposit back before the developers claim it in court.

"It's my opinion that they may have withheld information from bankruptcy court," Rodriguez said.

Sacchi said that's not true. "For every attorney who says one thing," he said, "you can find an attorney who says the opposite. That's what attorneys do."

As for the buyers who complained about unfinished construction, Sacchi said they should come see it now. It's "100 percent" complete, he said, except for a few touchups here and there. The developers finished everything before its promised date of March 2008, according to his interpretation of the final contract (which extended the original time frame to complete construction from two years to three).

"We're still working with people," he said. "If they want to close, we'd love to help them close."

Sacchi doesn't suspect they will, though, because he believes many buyers were looking to flip the condos, not live in them. And in the current condo market, no one is able to flip.

"People just got caught up in the market," he said.

As for the bankruptcy filing, Sacchi said the Chapter 11 reorganization will allow them to finish the project and keep selling the units. The sales office is getting about 60 visitors per week, he said, and "it's business as usual."

Almost a hundred of the units have now sold and are occupied, and four of the five retail spaces are occupied by restaurants and a wine and liquor shop. The fifth space is under contract.

"It's the best project in Tampa right now," Sacchi said. "Hands down."

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3431.

Channelside condo buyers want deposits back 03/06/08 [Last modified: Thursday, March 6, 2008 5:01am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. 'Road to Nowhere' is back: Next phase of Suncoast Parkway coming

    Roads

    Despite intense public opposition and dubious traffic projections, the Florida Department of Transportation has announced that construction of the toll road known as "Suncoast 2" is expected to start in early 2018.

    The Suncoast Parkway ends at U.S. 98 just south of Citrus County. For years residents have opposed extending the toll road, a project dubbed the "Suncoast 2" into Citrus County. But state officials recently announced that the Suncoast 2 should start construction in early 2018. [Stephen J. Coddington  |  TIMES]
  2. A sports rout on Wall Street

    Retail

    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  3. Grocery chain Aldi hosting hiring event in Brandon Aug. 24

    Retail

    BRANDON — German grocery chain Aldi is holding a hiring event for its Brandon store Aug. 24. It is looking to fill store associate, shift manager and manager trainee positions.

  4. Lightning owner Jeff Vinik backs film company pursuing global blockbusters

    Corporate

    TAMPA — Jeff Vinik's latest investment might be coming to a theater near you.

    Jeff Vinik, Tampa Bay Lightning owner, invested in a new movie company looking to appeal to a global audience. | [Times file photo]
  5. Trigaux: Look to new Inc. 5000 rankings for Tampa Bay's future heavyweights

    Business

    There's a whole lotta fast-growing private companies here in Tampa Bay. Odds are good you have not heard of most of them.

    Yet.

    Kyle Taylor, CEO and founder of The Penny Hoarder, fills a glass for his employees this past Wednesday as the young St. Petersburg personal advice business celebrates its landing at No. 25 on the 2017 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the country. Taylor, still in his 20s, wins kudos from executive editor Alexis Grant for keeping the firm's culture innovative. The business ranked No. 32 last year. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]