Downtown Phoenix luxury condos face money woes

[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — When the first condo owners moved into The Summit at Copper Square, Phoenix leaders hailed the luxury high-rise because it would bring residents who live, work and shop in the heart of the city.  But two years later, the 22-story complex near Chase Field has millions of dollars in unpaid bills, from late utility payments to construction costs.  The developer, W Developments LLC, said the project’s bank debt could lead to future problems, but downplayed other expenses.  Meanwhile, residents, who paid anywhere from $300,000 to more than $1 million, are worried about their investments.

The Summit is the latest sign that the once-overheated housing market has put a strain on some upscale projects.  At Landmark Towers on Central Avenue, owners say they are paying for costly tower repairs, but have lost perks such as valet parking.  A few miles away, Orpheum Lofts owners filed a lawsuit over a permanent parking dispute.

David Wallach, principal of W Developments, characterizes The Summit’s legal and financial problems as “challenges” that can be overcome. And the firm still plans to help build a downtown entertainment district and to develop property near the Orpheum Theatre, he said.  “The fact that we have challenges and continue to meet those challenges is . . . a true statement,” Wallach said.  “That doesn’t mean that we are having financial problems,” he added, calling The Summit “successful.”

While several owners in the 165-unit building praised Wallach for giving them frank updates about the building, some worry about the future. Condo owner David Moskowitz hopes he still is able to sell his two-bedroom unit for $350,000 through a short sale.  “I was so jazzed about this building,” said Moskowitz, who bought his unit last year for $650,000 as an investment property. Moskowitz said he would lose thousands of dollars.  But real-estate agent Vince Zerilli said he was “very happy” with the penthouse he bought in 2008.  [Note: To read the full article, click here.]

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