A California investment company that specializes in underpriced apartments has contracted to buy one of Clearwater's tallest and ritziest residential properties: the bankrupt Water's Edge condominium tower.
Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard confirmed the buyer of the 25-story downtown building is Concierge Asset Management of San Francisco, founded by a bargain-hunting tycoon named Maxwell Drever.
Opus South Corp. completed Water's Edge in 2008, filed for bankruptcy in spring 2009 and ceded the tower to Wachovia Bank at foreclosure auction last fall.
Wachovia, which held an $82 million mortgage on the building, successfully bid $30.6 million for the property. It's safe to say Concierge's offer is somewhere between $30.6 million to $82 million.
The 153-unit Water's Edge rests on a bluff near Clearwater City Hall, across the Intracoastal Waterway from the beach. Opus claimed it had sold 60 percent of its units, but most prospective owners bailed from contracts that averaged $750,000. The building remains largely unoccupied save for a few unit owners.
According to a 2002 article in the Wall Street Journal, the would-be owner established a reputation as a real estate bottom feeder who sought out troubled properties with good prospects for recovery.
One of Drever's biggest coups was buying struggling apartments from the Resolution Trust Corp. That's the agency set up in 1989 to liquidate real estate from the savings and loan meltdown.
Despite the company's expertise in apartments, real estate brokers said Concierge would likely continue to sell, rather than lease, Water's Edge.
Wachovia's sale to Concierge has been secretive — Drever has said he likes to snag properties before they're formally listed for sale. The deal is expected to close in a couple of months.