Oceanfront condo reopens

New owners hope the Opus begins filling up

By BOB KOSLOW, Business Writer

December 20, 2010 12:05 AM

from the Daytona Beach News-Journal

After nearly two years of standing empty, the oceanfront Islamorada Condominium in Daytona Beach Shores is selling units under the new name Opus Condominium. (N-J | Bob Koslow)
The same Canadian financial and investment company that recently bought three vacant oceanfront properties at deep discounts in Daytona Beach now owns the empty Islamorada condominium at the north end of Daytona Beach Shores.

But the new owners hope the 11-story building, renamed the Opus, won’t remain empty much longer.

Toronto-based Bayshore Group of Cos. bought the condo at 2071 S. Atlantic Ave. for about $12 million. An open house is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. Jan. 7 with condo tours, live music and refreshments. Units are already for sale.

“We like Florida and especially the Daytona Beach market,” said Henry Wolfond, Bayshore president. “We believe the market is cyclical and will always come back. Florida demographics still favor growth.”

Jim Mack and Allan Koch of Volusia Realty Properties counted on continued growth when they started the Islamorada in 2007. It was done in early 2009 at a cost of $17.5 million, but foreclosure lawsuits prevented unit sales.

The men took out a $23 million mortgage with Wachovia bank and a second mortgage for about $3.5 million with an investment trust run by Kenneth Goodman, a Naples attorney. Mack and Koch filed for personal bankruptcy, Goodman won a court judgment to assume control and Wachovia filed to foreclose in August 2009.

The bank won a $24 million judgement in September before selling it for half that amount to Bayshore.

“Coupled with the price reduction, we could not build it for the same price. It was a great deal. It complements our other land purchases.” Wolfond said.

Bayshore owns four acres at 1110 N. Atlantic Ave., 3.8 acres at 1751 S. Atlantic Ave. and 6 acres at 1405 S. Atlantic Ave. All are empty Daytona Beach oceanfront parcels that developers were preparing for high-rise luxury condos when the market turned south.

The last tract, a combined four lots, was bought Dec. 1 for $2.4 million. The previous owner, Milan Condominium Developers LLC, paid $13.6 million in 2005, but was facing foreclosure by Fifth Third Bank.

Wolfond said it could be at least five years before any development plans are initiated on the empty lots. The economy needs to improve, the glut of available condos shrink and sale prices rise to make building profitable, he said.

The Opus adds 54 units to the market. The new owners said the building has been maintained with the air conditioning running since the building was completed. But, Wolfond said, about $100,000 was spent to repair “minor” water damage.

“It’s a limited product in that they are new. This is the first significant new condo to open in some time,” said Aswin Suri, whose Exit Realty of Daytona is handling the condo sales, marketing and management. “This kind of product should not last six months.”

There are 53 three-bedroom, three-bath units at about 1,700 square feet each. There are three floor plans, all with ocean views, with prices starting in the low $200,000’s. A 4,000-square-foot penthouse is also available with a $100,000 upgrade allowance.

Unit owners will be allowed to rent them through the management company.

“It’s kind of a stand-alone product. We are running out of great priced, new condos,” said Realtor Lynn Byrne of CenterPointe Realty. “We need this. It will give a boost to the area.”