In the News—Week of July 8, 2024

 In The Title Trove

Deal of the Week

Thomas Title’s Builder & Developer Services team completed the full development cycle of a multifamily asset in Maricopa, Arizona by closing a $52 million sale and loan transaction. In 2021, we closed the acquisition of the 14-acre site in Pinal County. The following year, the Chicago-based developer arranged its construction financing, and we insured the $49 million loan. After the Arizona-based general contractor secured the final certificate of occupancy, the developer conveyed to its holding entity and refinanced the construction loan with permanent financing from the same Virginia-based lender. The 348-unit complex is now in lease-up. This transaction was closed by Sheila Hunter and Joel Montemayor of the Hunter-Montemayor Team in our Scottsdale office.


Condo owners in South Florida hit with six-figure assessments

Condo owners in South Florida are facing six-figure assessments because of a recent Florida law that mandates increased building inspections and reserve funding, WPLG-TV reports. These assessments, some as high as $400,000, are making it difficult for owners to sell or afford their homes. Monthly maintenance fees have also doubled, adding to the financial strain. The law was enacted following the 2021 collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside to ensure building safety, but it comes with significant financial burdens for owners in older buildings. Howard Konetz and his wife Sheila own a condo on Williams Island in Aventura and have lived there for 10 years. They received an assessment of $224,000. “I don’t know how we are going to live or where we are going to live,” Howard Konetz, 79, tells the TV station. “We can’t afford it and we are going to go broke, especially with the special assessment that has been levied on us.”


Former ice cream factory turned into mixed income housing in Milwaukee

The former Blommer Ice Cream Factory in Milwaukee’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood has been renovated and expanded into Legacy Lofts, a mixed-income apartment complex with 64 units, Housing Finance reports. This development, a project by Evergreen Real Estate Group and Legacy Midwest Renewal Corp., combines the historical factory building with a new three-story addition. The complex offers one- to four-bedroom apartments, with most being affordable for households earning 60% or less of the area median income. The development also includes over 1,500 square feet of commercial space and is seen as a significant contribution to the ongoing revitalization of the North Avenue area.


Seattle council weighs loosening energy efficiency requirements

The Seattle City Council is considering amendments to the city’s energy code that would roll back some of the stricter energy efficiency requirements for new buildings, The Urbanist reports. This proposal, pushed by Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell’s administration, aims to reduce construction costs and address a decline in new permit applications. The changes would align Seattle’s code more closely with the Washington State energy code, while still maintaining some stricter provisions. Supporters argue it will help alleviate housing costs and support construction. Critics worry it could hinder progress on reducing carbon emissions.


Three’s a charm? Ikea aims to put a small-format store in Fifth Avenue

Ikea has secured a one-third stake in a new office tower at 570 Fifth Avenue through a deal with Extell Development, aiming to open a small-format store in an 80,000-square-foot retail space, Commercial Observer reports. This move marks Ikea’s third attempt to establish a smaller store in New York City after previous failures on the Upper East Side and in Queens. Ikea has successfully launched compact stores in urban centers across Europe and Asia. But in the U.S., the company is known for stores as large as 456,000 square feet. The new store is part of Ikea’s broader strategy to expand its presence in city centers and attract urban consumers.


LG Energy Solution halts work on half of $5.5B battery plant in Queen Creek

LG Energy Solution has temporarily halted construction on half of its $5.5 billion battery plant in Queen Creek due to market conditions, while continuing with the other phase of the project, the East Valley Tribune reports. The ongoing phase is expected to create about 2,800 jobs, compared to the stalled phase, which was projected to employ 850 workers. The company emphasized that this pause is a strategic adjustment and not uncommon for large-scale projects. The Town of Queen Creek remains committed to the project’s infrastructure improvements and partnership with LG Energy Solution.


FrameTec receives preliminary OK for $150M plant in Casa Grande

FrameTec, an Arizona-based building component manufacturer, has received approval from Casa Grande’s Planning & Zoning Commission for its new $150 million manufacturing plant, The Business Journal reports via The plant, which will produce roof trusses and wall panels, will be located on 30 acres in Casa Grande and consist of two buildings totaling 254,000 square feet. Construction is set to begin in early fall, with the first building expected to be operational by 2026 and the second by 2027, eventually employing over 400 people.

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