By Steve Jones — firstname.lastname@example.org
A Conway company bought what’s left of the former Coastal Estates student apartment complex on U.S. 501 in south Conway and is working with potential buyers to get the project restarted, said David Jordan, chief financial officer of Chancel Hospitality Residential and Tourism Inc.
Jordan said the company bought the complex at an early-October foreclosure sale, where about $4.8 million in liens awaited the purchaser. Most of the money, more than $3 million, was owed to Chancel Builders, which included the Chancel HRT arm until a couple of years ago, so Jordan said the cash layout was far less.
He did say that Chancel HRT paid all subcontractors and suppliers who were left dangling with unpaid bills when the project went belly up. It was a substantial amount of money, Jordan said, but it’s left his company with a clear title to the property.
The project was started in 2012 as Coastal Estates and was to have been upscale student housing for Coastal Carolina University scholars, according to the developer. But work stopped at the site within months and unfinished walls and structural timbers have been at the mercy of Mother Nature for about a year.
The city of Conway tried repeatedly to get the project restarted, but late this summer got tired of hearing that new money would be in shortly and ordered demolition. A receiver was appointed.
Now Jordan said that Chancel HRT is waiting on a demolition permit from the state Department of Health and Environmental Control and the work can begin. The company hopes to salvage windows and bathtub surrounds and preserve the slabs for the next owner. He’s not sure how much Chancel may get for what it salvages.
Jordan said his company is working with several potential buyers, all of whom want to revive the project as student housing.
“The majority of my time is spent on this,” Jordan said.
Who’s No. 2?
Just about everybody who cares knows that Canadians are by far the most numerous foreign owners of Grand Strand real estate, but guess who’s No. 2 and No. 3?
It’s the Russians and Chinese, according to the Carolinas Lifestyle 2013 report by Re/Max Carolinas. Just who is second and who third, though, is not so certain.
Mandy Decker, owner of Re/Max Southern Shores, says its the Russians. Kevin Northrup, vice president of Re/Max Carolinas, says Chinese buyers follow the Canadians.
Not that it really matters; buyers are buyers and sales are sales.
Decker said that the Chinese and Russians buy area homes and condominiums for investments, most of them in the $200,000 range. About half of the buyers show up in person to pick up their real estate, she said, but the other half doesn’t.
“For the first time in years,” she said, “we’re seeing people buy sight unseen.”
Some Strand real estate firms already have offices in the Toronto area to cater to Canadian buyers, but that’s not so easy with the Russians and Chinese.
Not only are those customers much farther away than the Canadians, but each uses a different alphabet from the one used in America and Canada.
Decker said the latter isn’t really a problem for her.
She said Re/Max has a worldwide network of agents and she can email Grand Strand property listings to cohorts in China and Russia.
“The world’s becoming so intertwined,” she said.
Best since ’03, at least
The number of single-family residential sales along the Grand Strand is on track to be the best since at least 2003, when SiteTech Systems began tracking the area’s real estate.
They were up 21.7 percent for the quarter and 20.9 percent so far this year. SiteTech’s projections forecasts continued double-digit growth for the fourth quarter and full-year growth of 18 percent, according to its most recent Market Report.
“It’s not really jobs that are driving it,” said Todd Woodard, SiteTech owner.
Rather, he said that the numbers validate that the Grand Strand is an area where people want to live, either full time or part time.
The report also said that the absorption rate for both single-family homes and condominiums has dropped two months over the past year and that median sales prices are up, 5.9 percent for single-family homes and 6 percent for condominiums versus the first three quarters of 2012.