A downtown Victoria building bargain is heading to court next week.
The court-ordered sale of 1015 Fort St. will be up for approval Jan. 29, though the offer that has prompted court time is almost half the original listing price.
“It is just speaking to what the market was telling us and the challenges here,” said listing agent Amanda Neal of DTZ Victoria Real Estate, noting the building needs a lot of work. “This is where purchasers were offering their opinion of value. It’s a tough one but there is a fair amount of work required in the building on the upper level.
“That’s the reason we didn’t have a buyer sooner and a higher price.”
DTZ originally listed the building for $1.8 million in May last year. The last asking price published in November was $995,000. It has an assessed value of $1.76 million.
They have been offered $900,000, which has been accepted by the receiver. That deal now requires court approval, though there may be rival bidders who show up at court to offer alternative bids.
Neal said the right buyer would be one with the wherewithal to do the repair work required, has a use in mind and doesn’t require immediate revenue.
The building is a bargain and she wouldn’t be surprised to see rival bids turn up next week.
Neal said estimates from potential buyers of the cost of the work required have ranged from $100,000 to as much as the purchase price.
“We have had all kinds of numbers thrown around,” she said. “And until a buyer gets in there and starts doing the work, you never really know.”
The 1950 building, 6,432 square feet over two floors and vacant except for a small month-to-month tenant, has seen significant renovations already and a full seismic upgrade in the last few years. It has served as office space, a restaurant and, most recently, the lower floor was home to a yoga studio.
Neal, who said the Victoria office real estate market remains fairly buoyant, said it’s not unusual for a property like this to sit on the market a long time.
“Buildings that have challenges, repairs needed and suffering from vacancy are significantly challenging ... you have to find that right buyer,” she said.
That’s certainly true of the Aquattro development in Colwood, which had been on the market since it was tipped into receivership in early 2010.
But there may be new life injected into the Aquattro project.
According to Ernst & Young, the court-appointed receiver for the bankrupt development, Vancouver-based Seacliff Property Acquisitions’ $10.2 million bid for the undeveloped lands attached to the project was approved by the courts last week.
While Seacliff representatives did not return calls immediately, their bid gives them the chance to continue with the development that was originally to be a 585-unit housing complex of condos and townhomes on the 20-hectare site.
When the $350 million project went into receivership in February 2010, 88 units had been built in four buildings.
The sale price of $10.2 million is well below the original listing price of $17.5 million, and down from the $16 million Anthem Properties offered for the undeveloped lands in 2011.
That sale was not completed as Anthem terminated the deal citing a number of factors including the deterioration of the real estate market in Victoria, uncertainty over geotechnical issues and objections of interested parties in the development designs proposed by Anthem.
Anthem did take on a marketing contract with receivers Ernst & Young. And according to the receiver’s most recent report to the courts, Anthem has sold 15 of the 37 remaining units for $7.93 million.
Seacliff Properties is a privately owned real estate company with a suite of large-scale construction and development projects throughout Western Canada. Their holdings include real estate and developments in the commercial, industrial and residential sectors.
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