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Palm Coast Thursday, Mar. 10, 2011 8 years ago

On foreclosure auction block: two big projects

by: Toby Tobin Contributing Writer

Foreclosures have been part of the Palm Coast and Flagler County housing market for three years. Owners of less expensive homes were the first to be affected. They were the most likely to be living paycheck-to-paycheck without any financial reserves. 2010 saw foreclosures hitting more expensive properties as well. The prolonged recession sapped some of the formerly well-heeled. Their financial reserves were eventually exhausted as well.

City Marketplace
Two commercial projects are scheduled to be offered up on the foreclosure auction block this month. The most visible is City Marketplace, formerly known as City Walk.

Located on Cypress Point Parkway behind Walmart, City Marketplace comprises four buildings totaling 160,000 square feet. The project was designed as a commercial condominium back when Palm Coast desperately needed more commercial space. Construction delayed completion. The market had already turned down when the buildings were finally completed. There are several vacancies. Palm Coast City Hall is the largest tenant in the complex.

City Marketplace was developed by Lake Mary-based Asnaco LLC. Asnaco paid $2,046,154 for the 13.7-acre parcel, in 2004. The project was financed with a $7.5 million loan from Colonial Bank. When Colonial failed, BB&T took over. It was BB&T that triggered the March 21 auction. Flagler County property records show the property (minus units already sold to others) is assessed for $3,817,682.

Riverview at Grand Haven
The entry to the Grand Haven Golf Course is lined on either side with ICI-built River Club townhomes, a thriving neighborhood. Further along on the right are four three-story condominiums that overlook the practice area and first hole of the golf course. The 48 residential units in these buildings represent phase I of a project planned to total 96 units. Demand was high when this phase was presold. Prices ranged to $556,000.

As one approaches the Grand Haven clubhouse, the concrete shells of two unfinished structures appear on the left, overlooking the 10th hole, the 18th green and the Intracoastal Waterway. Phase II was planned to mirror phase I, but presales flopped.

The developer, Whitehall Homes decided to start construction on only two of the planned buildings. The real estate market continued to plummet. Sales dried up completely, and Whitehall simply walked away in 2007.

Whitehall financed the project with a $6.4 million loan from Bank Atlantic. Bank Atlantic did not foreclose immediately, but with an obvious financial interest, it stepped in at the encouragement of the Grand Haven Homeowners Association.

Bank Atlantic cleaned up the site and erected a security fence. With no white knight on the horizon, it finally foreclosed. The site is assessed for only its land value: $210,600. It is scheduled to be sold at a March 16 foreclosure auction.


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