Despite a lot of bad press and bad timing, Oasis Condominiums in downtown Fort Myers is definitely worth consideration as either an investment opportunity, or great winter getaway.
Miami's The Related Group, known for developing luxury high rise condominiums and with well over 120 spectacular waterfront projects on East Coast, started the project during the height of the real estate boom in Southwest Florida. With 17 acres and prime waterfront land, the original plan included five 32-story condominiums. The first two of the five planned towers were almost completely sold out in 2005 pre-construction and units sold for anywhere between $350psf. and $450psf., but due to rough market conditions the project fell on troubled times. The following is a brief synopsis of events to follow:
* Early in 2008 the first tower (Tower 2) is completed, but the market has already collapsed and all but a handful of buyers walk away from their 20 percent deposit. Related is forced to rent the condo units out to keep the building a float and Bank of America is owed a $157 million dollars for the construction loan.
* Late in 2008 the second tower is completed (Tower 1) and only one buyer actually closes on his unit. This was Victor Vangelakos, the fireman from New Jersey who gained world-wide attention as the lonely tenant in Tower 1.
* April 2010 — Bank of America sues Related for $157 million for construction loan.
* October 2010 — The Related Group, a sister company from New York and Lupert-Adler, a multi-billion dollar private equity firm based in Philadelphia venture together to form Oasis Associates LLC and gets Bank of America to settle for $65 million in cash. Oasis is now wholly owned by Oasis Associates, LLC for about a third of what it originally cost to build. Miami's The Related Group no longer owns the two towers, but continues on with the management, sales and marketing for the two towers.
* November 2010 — THE AUCTION — The absolute auction of 40 units and the potential of another 125 is being marketed worldwide to kick start the sales process. That was the intent, but instead, articles appear that there is going to be an auction of foreclosed condos by Bank of America. Even though Oasis Associates, LLC now owns the luxury towers free and clear of any liens or mortgages and is backed by a multi-billion dollar company, people associate the auction with a distress sale and the auction is halted after the first 40 units.
* February 2011 — Oasis Associates sells the 224 developer owned units in Tower 2 for $36.7 million to Canadian Investment Group Lofton Island Holdings. This is a brilliant move since most of the building is already filled with renters and Lofton Island plans on continuing the leasing program for the next few years.
Without the looming presence of the additional inventory, consumer confidence returns and over the next year and half, Oasis LLC goes on to sell 124 of the 200 units in Tower One. The Miami-style sleek design and high-end finishes which include Italian cabinetry, granite counters and stainless steel appliances appeal to the international community. Most of the purchases are all cash which add to the stability of the development and the condo association which has reserves funded at 100%.
* Present- Now that the Fort Myers marketplace is gaining momentum and prices are going up, astute investor Angus Rogers and his group, Domus Group II, LLC, recently purchased the remaining 72 condos at Oasis Condominiums for $10.6 million.
The Sarasota firm is off to a great start selling 3 units in just the last 30 days. "Our modus operandi is to make opportunistic acquisitions," says Rogers "and the property has a good sales history and that is compelling."
Sales Associate Barbara Perez, who has been with the project since the very beginning says that "when you consider the opportunity to purchase a new, never lived-in condo in a luxury community for a fraction of replacement cost, it just makes a lot of sense."