Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Homeowner Group Accuses Developer Of Using Condo Termination Agreement To Squeeze Them Out Of Their Apartments For "Pennies On The Dollar"

In Key Largo, Florida, The Real Deal (South Florida) reports:
  • A plan to tear down and rebuild a 1970s condo building at the exclusive Ocean Reef Club in Key Largo is being met with stiff opposition from eight current owners who accuse the developers of trying to muscle them out through a condo termination agreement.

    Martin Levine, principal of New York City-based Redwood Real Estate Group, has teamed up with John Grunow, president of leasing company Reef Rentals, who owns dozens of properties in the community, to redevelop the 48-unit Golf Village Condominium Apartments into The Residences at Ocean Reef. The new proposed development would still have the same number of units, but the building’s footprint would be much larger and offer luxury amenities, according to the developers.

    However, owners Brian Castle, Karyn Thiele, Debora Overholt, Peter and Claudette Lingley, Thomas and Maria Tyghem and a holding company called Unit 22A Golf Village are objecting to the termination plan presented by Levine and Grunow, who is also president of the Golf Village condo association.

    Overholt, one of two owners who spoke to The Real Deal, said Levine and Grunow want to take over their properties for “pennies on the dollar.”

    “I never imagined that in a place like Ocean Reef, greedy developers would be enabled to force me and my neighbors to sell our homes, in many cases for less than our mortgages,” Overholt said. “In my case, for less than I paid for the home in 2007. The condo I acquired to enjoy time off with my family has evolved into the worst possible real estate investment and a source of great stress and financial loss.”

    The eight objectors constitute roughly 14.6 percent of Golf Condo unit owners, according to letters from their lawyers to the condo association, obtained by TRD. Prior to July 1, state law barred condo terminations from moving forward if 10 percent or more of unit owners did not want to sell. The threshold has now been lowered to 5 percent under amendments to Florida’s condo laws approved by Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature during the most recent legislative session.