Opus South condo developments to change hands
Tampa Bay Business Journal – by Janet Leiser and Michael Hinman
The winning bidder on unsold condominiums in two high-end Pinellas residential towers — Water’s Edge in downtown Clearwater and 400 Beach Drive in downtown St. Petersburg — is the lender, Wachovia Corp.
The bank, now part of Wells Fargo & Co., agreed to pay $30.6 million for the condos, plus undeveloped land adjacent to the $100 million Water’s Edge, in a deal expected to be complete by Oct. 16.
Wachovia, which holds an $82 million mortgage on the properties, was the highest bidder at an Oct. 1 auction in the District of Delaware, where developer Opus South Florida is liquidating through the bankruptcy court.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walmath approved the sales at an Oct. 7 hearing.
Three limited liability companies that have the same Charlotte, N.C., address as Wachovia Bank won the bids.
Water’s Edge Clearwater LLC agreed to pay $20 million for Water’s Edge where only 10 of the 156 units have previously sold, records show. The bank paid about $137,000 per unit.
The tower also has commercial space on the ground floor.
In addition, Redus Clearwater Bluff LLC will pay $1.6 million for adjacent undeveloped land.
On 400 Beach Drive, Redus 400 Beach LLC bid $9 million for about 21 unsold condos along with unsold retail space in the 93-unit building.
Atlanta-based Opus South, headquartered in Tampa until last year, filed for Chapter 11 on April 22, listing assets of $38 million and liabilities of $28.6 million.
It is one of five companies that form Minnetonka, Minn., real estate developer Opus Corp. Two others — Opus East LLC and Opus West Corp. — also have sought bankruptcy protection.
An investment group tied to the Tampa Bay Rays is the backup bidder on 400 Beach Drive. Downtown 400 LLC is managed by Randy Frankel and its address is Tropicana Field, home of the Rays, state corporate records show.
The back-up bidder on Water’s Edge is an entity connected to The Related Group of Miami.
NAI Tampa Bay broker T. Sean Lance said the investment groups were most likely testing the water to see how much Wachovia would pay for the properties.
“Those are two high-quality assets,” said Lance, managing director.
The Beach Drive units will sell for more than Water’s Edge, he said. “Downtown St. Petersburg is a much more vibrant downtown as opposed to downtown Clearwater, which is pretty sparse,” Lance said.
He expects the bank to evaluate the properties to determine the best way to minimize losses.
Wachovia will have to decide if it wants sell units individually or in bulk.
Most buyers, including The Related Group, are looking for huge discounts in today’s depressed market.
“The bid-ask gap is great,” he said.
Calls to lawyers at Greenberg Traurig, which represents Opus South, weren’t returned.
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