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Thursday, September 17, 2009

SoWhat suckers read writing on wall

The upcoming fire-sale auction of condos in Portland's disastrous SoWhat district is worrying some of the retiree rubes who paid top dollar for units in those bunkers:

He says the auction could attract "a different type of clientele" who might not have "the same level of respect" for the building—meaning it might attract young people with less money.
Wait 'til the loud parties start. Too funny.

Comments (23)

The cheapest units in there are going for $170k. There's no way the "different clientelle" can afford even that. Those towers are going empty for a while.

Hey, those retirees will make their money back eventually... as long as they don't sell for another 52 years.

It's sad, but frankly predictable. SoWhat will forever be our poster child for the housing tulip mania we just went through.

Well, Chris, that depends upon whether or not anybody's planning to rent them out. True, the typical hipster would prefer to live off Alberta, but I could very easily see a lot of those condos being rented out as "artist space": i.e., ten people in a two-bedroom because they can cover rent and cable between them.

hmmm..bad timing on everybody's part. Who could have seen this coming?

Hey, they're stuck. They paid $600K for a condo worth $300K and now the HOAs may not being paid.

Renting them out is probably against the CCNRs (banks won't loan on future purchases if there are more than 15% or so rentals.)

Not a lot of happy faces down there. I am curious about what happens with the auction. They're actually OK units.

I see a way out of this for Portland. We have the Rose Gardens, right? Why not plant a few thousand tulips down at SoWhat and call it Bubble Gardens?

Humor and marketing, people. National exposure.

Who knows?

Maybe some of the tourists who flock here from around the world to see our iconic tram, will stop by the new garden and spend even more money.

One possible snag: There's toxicity issues by the river. Will tulips even grow down there?

Turn it into a Casino/Red Light District of Bibical proportions. Real Sodom and Gommorah . Bangkok on the Willamette. It's isolated enough from the city and they plan to run Max down there anyway so a line straight from the Airport would keep most of the international sex tourists outside of the public eye. Also you have that tram straight to the hospital to deal with all the STD's and old geezers keeling over from Heart attacks and 4 hour you know whats.

Does Portland/PDC already have a claim or interest, just like any "lender", corresponding to any and all manner of exemptions from taxation or system development charges etc?

Proof: Suppose all the non-equal treatment for tax purposes etc were void based on some trigger event such as any default or bankruptcy by any counterparty ("stakeholder?") to any of the myriad fancy contracts/exemptions. What might the price/"value" be then? Would it magically then become "affordable"?

pdxnag, the PDC is not a shrewd negotiator. Their negotiations amount to: "Where do you want us to back up the truck full of money?"

If you want to add a sex trade, would you consider modeling it after Amsterdam? That way we can keep the tulip garden.

I admit I'm still not crazy about your idea, but using the tram to transport STD victims to OHSU is a winner.

I'm seriously wondering whether they will find enough SCHMUCKS stupid enough to buy those units - even at the so-called "Fire Sale" prices. Why on earth would anyone want to move into a building that's over 60% vacant and pay for the "priviledge" of doing so?
Anybody want to make a bet that less than half these units sell? The proof will be when the auction company is tight lipped and/or non-commital about how many units were purchased.

What happens the next time we have something like the Flood of '96 and all those underground garages flood? Dragonboat races in the lobby?

This is happening all over the country, not just in SoWhat. But yeah, it's gonna be a tough transition for the folks who bought at top price.

I can't wait until there is another 100mph windstorm and a bunch of windows get broken out of those vacant towers. Either that, or bored, unemployed kids driving by on the Ross Island Bridge are going to have that collective light bulb "click on" above their heads, and begin taking pot shots at them with air rifles or .22s.

Personally, I think they'll look great in 5 to 10 years, all abandoned and decrepit, with those broken windows finally gone un-repaired for lack of funds. Then we can solve the homeless problem and let the thousands of bums downtown move in.

We must have tulips the reference to the 16th century tulip craze is just too sweet to let slide. I want something like the island of lost boys in Pinnochio, a true Sodom on the Willamette flood plain. Portlands own Time Square. Casinos, strip joints, whore houses. Pretty much what 4th ave. was back in the 70's but on a bigger scale with more panache. What else are you going to do with it besides turn it in to public housing. At least the Sex Industry would be able to sustain itself economically and that is what it's all about in Portland. Sustainability. It can still be green, just a little slimey. The Jazz Age preceded the Depression lets go down in flames, lets go out with a bang and not a whimper.

The Miami condo market went down well before this one. If they had read the damn news papers they would have known things weren't great.

What I want to know is what happens when a earthquake hits. Will the ground under those things liqueify?

Is retail next? See this and wonder.

"A recent book, “Retrofitting Suburbia,” by Ellen Dunham-Jones and June Williamson, notes that in 1986, the United States had about 15 square feet of retail space per person in shopping centers. That was already a world-leading figure, but by 2003 it had increased by a third, to 20 square feet. The next countries on the list are Canada (13 square feet per person) and Australia (6.5 square feet); the highest figure in Europe is in Sweden, with 3 square feet per person."


Do our tax laws create this, or maybe our zoning codes?

I'd like to see all the Gresham-ites move in with their raised-up 4x4s and modified Hondas with coffee-can exhaust pipes. I can just see the windows shaking from the trunk-sized speakers and all the spit stains on the common area rugs. Ha ha ha aha ha ha ha!!!!

I wish I had some cash sitting around. A $199,000 one bedroom, if you get it near the low end of the auction price, will have a mortgage of around $1000/month if you put 20% down. I'm pretty sure you could get close to that in the rental market.

I bet these things sell at that price for investors and the place will fill up with renters from OHSU and PSU.

A $199,000 one bedroom, if you get it near the low end of the auction price, will have a mortgage of around $1000/month if you put 20% down.

Just don't forget to look at the HOA dues. They probably are still apportioned per the pre-crash real estate values.

Not only HOA dues, but also special assessments for deferred maintenance.

Developers would rather sell every unsold unit at auction than pay to maintain a building they originally built.

These "bargain" condos are money pits of unknown depth.

This idea of SoWa urban dystopia has legs.

SoWa was SO predictable, even in the best of times. How would want to live there? It is close to but not in the city. There are very limited ways in and out and almost no amenities save the view. Why not just go to John's landing or even LO if you don't want the city life. Is a 5 or 15 minute drive that different?

I've lived in NW or Pearl or Goose Hollow or Downtown since the mid 80's. I was shocked to see the sales activity but now that we know the vast majority was from speculation, it makes more sense.

SoWa will NEVER be a top-tier place. Well, at least in our lifetimes.

M.W. asks if our zoning laws did this.
Well, when the first child molester was our mayor we developed downtown zoning that ruled buildings be shorter the closer to the river you were. You know, public spaces, quality of life.... Chicago's "River-in-a-Concrete Canyon" was not desirable model. But, money talks and Vera/Sam ashcanned the rules because rapacious greed IS a good model.

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