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Revamped Historic Lofts For Sale In Galveston

As you’re planning that beach getaway this summer, you may want to consider buying your own retreat in Galveston. Not only will you get a place to hang your sun hat, you’ll also get a piece of history.

Atlanta-based SF Capital is converting a historic building in Galveston into a condo project called The Strand Historic Lofts. The project will have 37 units for sale. Located at 2400 Mechanic Street in Galveston, a block from the harbor, the building was built in 1890 as a printing press.

One- and two-bedroom units range in size from 900 to 1,900 square feet and are priced beginning around $200,000. The complex includes controlled access entry, gated-garage parking, a fitness center and a rooftop deck.

“Each home is unique and has a story behind it,” SF Capital principal Will Stolz said in a statement. “We are carefully renovating and transforming this historic building into high-style lofts. Each home offers high-end fixtures and unmatched, impressive finishes that integrate exposed original brick walls, authentic tongue and groove pine wood floors, soaring 12- to 14-foot exposed beam wood ceilings and original, beautiful 10-foot windows and storm shutters.”

Many of the units feature historic details, such as ceilings with wood timbers and iron arches, iron turnbuckles and tin-clad rolling fire doors as well as antique elevator cables and carriages.

The historic building was the home office for Clarke & Courts Printing, one of the most successful printers in Texas during the early 20th century. In 1994, the building was converted into lofts.

Thanks to a booming economy and a fresh marketing effort, Galveston saw a record spike in tourism last year.

In 2013, tourists spent $687.2 million in Galveston. That’s up 5 percent from $654.5 million a year ago, according to a report conducted by Pennsylvania-based Tourism Economics.

Written by Jenny Aldridge. Jenny covers real estate and construction for the Houston Business Journal.

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Historic Galveston Building Goes Condo

Strand ExteriorAn Atlanta developer is converting this historic building on the Strand in Galveston into a condominium project the company says will have an authentic loft feel with exposed brick and wood beams, iron arches and tongue and groove pine wood floors.

“This is just a really cool old building,” said Will Stolz of SF Capital, which is converting the five-story structure. “If you imagine in your mind what a loft ought to look like, that’s this building.”

Located at 2400 Mechanic St. across from the Tremont House hotel, the 1890 property was developed for Clarke & Courts Printing. In 1994, Houston developer Randall Davis converted the building into residential rental units.

Atlanta-based SF Capital recently purchased the property and is in the process of converting the units into 37 one- and two-bedroom condominiums ranging from 900 square feet to nearly 1,900 square feet. Prices start in the low $200,000s. The building, called the Strand Historic Lofts, has garage parking, a fitness center and rooftop deck. The Marketing Directors is handling sales.

The developer is spending more than $100,000 upgrading each unit.

“Basically what we’re doing is kitchens and bathrooms,” Stolz said. “We’re using top of the line hardware, counter tops, cabinets, appliances. The whole nine yards.”

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Article Written by Nancy Sarnoff of the Houston Chronicle.

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New Crabapple Condos Approved

ALPHARETTA, Ga. – A new housing development was approved for the Crabapple area April 28 at the Alpharetta City Council meeting.

The council heard of a proposal to add six new condominiums to Arklow Drive and Marstow Drive, on the south side of the Crabapple crossroads. This property, behind the Alpharetta Municipal Complex, is in Alpharetta but largely surrounded by Milton, which added some complexity to the project. It was delayed once in Alpharetta in order for the developer to meet with Milton officials.

“Within Crabapple crossroads, there are stringent requirements in architecture,” said Alpharetta Deputy Community Development Director Kathi Cook. “The [developer's] architect met with city of Milton staff to meet their requirements. The height of the building meets the Crabapple crossroads plan but not Alpharetta’s requirements.”

The developer asked Alpharetta for a variance to its height rules, in order to meet the height of the Crabapple community. This request was granted. At the front of the building, it will look like it is only two stories tall.

“The idea is to provide a one-level living option here,” said Wills Stolz, the developer, with Alpharetta-based SF Capital. “We feel the product is aimed at empty nesters, somebody who wants to stay in the area but doesn’t want their 6,000- or 5,000-square-foot house.”

The condos would be accessible via elevator and each will be only one floor.

“It has a lot of advantages. It should be very efficient to operate,” Stolz said. “For most people, downsizing to a townhome is their only alternative in this area.”

The condos will be 2,200 square feet and likely sell in the $400s on the 0.7-acre tract of land, Stolz said.

In 2005, the property was zoned for retail and commercial, however nothing was ever built on it, causing the zoning to revert to its original zoning of office-professional.

“We love the location because it is walkable,” Stolz said. “A lot of stuff going on in Alpharetta is perfect for this concept. We have done four realtor focus groups on this, and they have been very bullish on the depth of demand on this.

“There is nothing like this in this area,” he said.

Stolz has developed similar projects in Midtown, however these were projects with 60 or more units. The Milton project only has six.

“We have not done anything this small,” he said.

The new development would be required to take part in a study determining levels of silt in the pond nearby, and they would also have to help pay for the upkeep along with neighboring homeowners’ associations.

The condos were approved by unanimous agreement.

Article written by Jonathan Copsey with the Milton Herald.

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Purchase Of 19 Marabou Homesteads Affords Chance To Re-Position Ranch Preservation Subdivision

BarnOne of the first things that SF Capital principal Will Stolz did after his company purchased 19 Marabou Ranch estate lots this month for a little more than $12 million was to direct Marabou sales executive John Hillenbrand to remove them from the Steamboat Springs multiple listing service.

SF Capital Group, based in Atlanta, will wait for Marabou lots already on the market to clear before returning to marketing its new acquisitions under more favorable conditions.

“We’re going to take our inventory and sit on the sidelines,” Stolz said in a telephone interview Thursday. “We don’t really have a set time frame. We see a lot of value there. Our gut is that the market is beginning to turn. How fast is unknown.”

Marabou is about five miles west of Steamboat Springs and comprises almost 1,800 acres. Sixty-two homestead lots clustered on the overall acreage there came on the market in 2006 for list prices of $1.8 million to $5 million. Forty-two lots have sold since 2006, but some have been foreclosed on, and few homes have been built. The fourth house to be built there was nearing completion in July 2012.

When the lots in the ranch preservation subdivision are returned to the market, Stolz anticipates it might be in batches of three or so, and as each group sells through, it might be possible to advance the pricing.

SF Capital purchased 18 developer lots for $11.1 million and an additional bank-owned lot for $1.1 million March 22.

Lead Marabou developer Jeff Temple sold his own lot for $1.15 million just this week, an indicator of where the market is today and perhaps an indicator that SF Capital would not settle for a sale price at that level.

Steamboat Realtor Jon Wade, of Colorado Group Realty, said the prorated sales price of the 18 lots at $617,000 apiece wasn’t good news for the local real estate market in the short term but pointed out that it begins to reposition the development to find a market price and move forward in much the same way that condominium projects at the base of the ski mountain, like One Steamboat Place and Trailhead Lodge, have done. It’s what needs to happen when a developer holds inventory that cannot be moved, he wrote in his blog.

“Things only deteriorate until something like this changes the situation,” Wade wrote. “Buyers are out there looking, but it is hard to move forward when you wonder what the next sale will be at under bank pressure.”

Stolz said his company prefers to carry out developments, but since 2007, much of its business activity has been acquiring and reviving bank-owned suburban housing developments in the southeastern U.S. that stalled in the Great Recession.

Marabou was was brought to the attention SF Capital by individuals in the group who already were acquainted with Stolz.

“This was a little outside the box,” Stolz said. “We certainly didn’t set out to find Marabou, per se. It came about as a result of a relationship that I had with some of Elk River Partners’ principals, existing owners. This deal had no element of distress — they never missed a payment — they weren’t distressed; they were just tired. They just didn’t want to spend the energy, effort and capital” necessary to restructure Marabou for different times.

Stolz said that when he and his colleagues first came to the area to tour Marabou, it was with an open mind.

“When we looked at it, we went up there with no preconceptions about Marabou or the Steamboat market or anything else,” he said. “The more we saw it, the more we liked it. Words like irreplaceable get thrown around a lot in our industry, but it is really attractive to us. We think it’s virtually irreplaceable.”

Stolz explained that even if one could assemble the individual properties overlooking the lower Elk River Valley within sight of the slopes of Steamboat Ski Area, it would be difficult to put the capital together, and obtaining development permits here also might be very difficult.

Wade agreed, saying that the value of Marabou lots is bolstered by the unlikelihood they ever will be duplicated.

Marabou has substantial high-end amenities: In addition to growing grass hay and feeding a small herd of steers in recognition of the agricultural tradition of the valley, it maintains a trophy trout fishery in ponds fed by irrigation ditches and in the Elk River itself, which runs along the western boundary of the property a few miles upstream from its confluence with the Yampa River.

“I never fished any place that compares to Marabou, not to mention all the other things you do while you’re there,” Stolz said.

The ranch has a substantial lodge as well as a rustic but refined Western barn intended for entertaining. The ranch manager has saddle horses available, and there is a movie theater, a yoga studio and more.

Stolz acknowledge that since the economy has begun to recover from the recession, second-home buyers have become more sensitive to the cost to own resort property over time. He observed that Marabou was developed to be all-inclusive.

“We’ve got to find a buyer that’s comfortable with those costs,” he said. “One of the reasons we went forward is that when you look at what somebody pays for what they get, I think it’s a tremendous value.”

In a 2006 interview, Temple said the annual fees for the development would be about $20,000.

Stolz said he typically makes two trips annually to the Western U.S., one to ski and another to fish. From arranging ski lessons and fishing guides, he is attracted to the level of service provided by the existing staff at Marabou. Hillenbrand and the management staff remain in place.

“Jeff (Temple) and his partners did a tremendous job. As a developer, I have a high level of appreciation for what they created. They didn’t get it wrong. They just got caught in the worst recession in any of our lifetimes.”

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When Open Space Makes More Sense Than Construction

open spacesFrom: BUILDER 2011
Posted on: October 4, 2011 9:20:00 AM

When Open Space Makes More Sense Than Construction

An Atlanta-area developer replaces an undeveloped condo slab with a park.

By: John Caulfield

ALFRESCO AMENITY: An open-air dining area is now part of the Sterling at Dunwoody condo complex, whose developer, The Providence Group, chose to install a community park where a fifth building was originally intended.

Credit: The Providence Group

It’s a classic case of turning lemons into lemonade.

The plans for Sterling at Dunwoody in an Atlanta suburb called for five buildings, each with 48 condominium units. Three of those buildings are complete, with only 20 units in the third still unsold as of last Friday.

The fourth building was 80% completed when the project’s lender went under. The fifth building had been started, with an undeveloped slab and a 75-foot-wide by 200-foot-long parking garage, raised 10 feet off the ground, that was described as “an eyesore” by Warren Jolly, owner and president of The Providence Group, the project’s developer and Atlanta’s fourth-largest builder.

Providence had already invested $3.8 million into the fifth building and parking deck, and Jolly estimates that it would have cost another $4 million to complete. Meanwhile, several other local residential buildings that Sterling at Dunwoody competed with were acquired by the developer Starwood Capital Group. Starwood “repriced” those units, making competition and future profitability even tougher, says Jolly.

A new lender—which had taken over the assets of the failed bank through an agreement with the FDIC—asked Providence for options about what to do with the property. The developer made two decisions that could be seen as signs of the times.

First, it brought in a group of individual investors whom Providence had worked with previously. That group acquired the fourth and fifth buildings, and agreed to put up the money to complete the fourth. But instead of completing the fifth building, Providence and the investor group chose to remove the slab, raze the parking deck, and install a community park.

The park, according to Providence, includes a dog park, raised vegetable plots, a natural seating area overlooking an outdoor amphitheater, an outdoor kitchen with grill and counter space, and a lighted dining patio with seating.

Because many of the existing condos don’t have greenspaces, the park is another desirable amenity, says Jolly. “The winners are the existing 124 residents who will now see their community completed,” he says. Twenty-eight of the 48 units in the fourth building have floor plans or price points that aren’t available in the other three. And Jolly notes that because the fourth building has a view of the park, some of the residents in the third building have expressed an interest in buying a unit in the fourth.

Jolly estimates that Providence and its investors spent $310,000 to convert the slab into a park, and to complete the landscaping around the community. While the investor group takes ownership of the latter two buildings at the end of the year, Providence will continue to manage the community’s homeowners association. “For the residents, the whole thing will be seamless,” says Jolly.

When he spoke with Builder last week, Jolly said Providence was selling the last 20 units in the third building to pay down its debt. Those move-in units range from 1,400 to 1,500 square feet and are selling for $174,900 to $207,900, which represents recently reduced pricing.

John Caulfield is senior editor for Builder magazine.

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Stolz Partners, LLC
12645 Birmingham Highway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004
Stolz Partners, LLC
12645 Birmingham Highway
Alpharetta, Georgia 30004

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