Never Mind the Rumors; This Condo Deal Is On
No question that the local residential real estate industry is jittery these days, what with twice as many homes for sale as a year ago, sales incentives abundant and price reductions being taken.
Two condominium developers recently announced that they were abandoning plans for big projects. District-based Monument Realty LLC will not convert a 574-unit rental complex in Alexandria, and Wood Partners LLC of Atlanta will finish 300 units in Annapolis as rentals rather than condos.
The rumors of more condo cancellations have grown so strong that the developer of the DuMont, an upscale high-rise in a booming District neighborhood, put out a news release just to say that all is well. A member of the marketing team said the builders decided to take the step after hearing repeatedly that the 560-unit project at the corner of Fourth Street and Massachusetts Avenue NW would not proceed. The building is in a neighborhood buzzing with construction and new luxe offerings.
"The rumors of any death are greatly exaggerated," said Beth DeLucenay, vice president at marketing company McWilliams/Ballard, at an open house Tuesday night at the DuMont's sales office. But she and other sales team members, and even a few open house visitors, said they had heard the rumors.
Fewer than a dozen people were on hand an hour into the event, despite tempting hors d'oeuvres from the popular Sushi-Ko. (It probably didn't help that the party announcement on the condo's Web site gave an address three blocks away, said a visitor.)
The news release issued Wednesday painted an upbeat future. Sales are proceeding "at a record pace," Charles Herzka, principal of New York-based Broadway Management, was quoted as saying. The statement bragged that the DuMont is not only "the fastest-selling condo project in the Mount Vernon Triangle," but "is poised to sell out well before the first set of deliveries."
Eighty units have sold since mid-April in the first phase of 370 units, the release said. The units range in price from the upper $200s for studios with Murphy beds and plasma TVs to more than $1 million for penthouse suites.
-- Sandra Fleishman