Condos still unsold after Solaria auction debacle

It was on Nov.22, 2009 that the developer of Riverdale’s 20-story Solaria sought to unload 54 of the new development’s unsold apartments  at an auction that drew hundreds of hopefuls and plenty of press.

The results were not pretty, and Joseph Korff of ARC Development subsequently tried and tried to get rid of orphaned units that failed to find buyers.  I recently got to wondering whether he has succeeded after so much time.

The answer years later is, only up to a point.

Checking Streeteasy at the end of last week, I found only 20 recorded sales, though I suspect there have been more (including some in the auction).

I also saw on Streeteasy active listings for 11 condos; on the OLR brokers’ database, I counted just nine of them on the market.  Whether there might be others, I can’t say: My voicemail message has gone unanswered.  Which may explain a lot.

I do see in the OLR database that three of the listings surfaced just last month, perhaps indicating that some of the units were held back.  I was hoping to learn whether others have failed to appear online even if they are available.

Anyway, for a 959-sf one-bedroom apartment to a five-bedroom unit with 3,075 square feet, the current asking prices range between $770,000 and $2.495 million on Streeteasy.

The average price per square foot of the 11 active listings is $771 in contrast to $722 for the recorded sales.

As for closed sales, the most recent ones shown on the site occurred last year — two in December, the rest in November and much earlier.

The available sold prices, which don’t account for any developer concessions, prove illuminating.

In June, unit 19C closed at $1.525 million, 7 percent below the published asking price of $1.64 million from the time it supposedly went on the market . . . in March 2011.  It is a 2,010-sf apartment with three bedrooms and three and a half baths.

In December, the 995-sf unit 6A went for $943,000, 5.1 percent lower than the $995,000 offering price.  It officially was listed in November 2008.  

(The other December sale was for unit 9D, listed for $1.06 million, but I haven’t been able to come up with the sold price.)

I have written about the Solaria’s struggle numerous times, including its auction and the developer’s attempts to sell remaining apartments afterward.  The search options at the right of this post will provide you with several additional links.  And you can check, as well, the Solaria Web site, though Streeteasy may prove to be a better choice.

Despite what developers and auctioneers maintain, such bulk sales events smack of desperation.  Not only are the auctions expensive for the developers, but I often have written that a far more productive avenue would be simply to lower the asking prices to meet the market.

Tomorrow: Queens Auction Results, Then (at 10:05 a.m.) Death Knell

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Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
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