Thursday, January 25, 2007

Aura Condos

'We'll be breaking ground by the end of year'

'We'll break ground within two weeks'

Anyone who has followed Aura at 6th and Capitol Mall has become familiar with these words.

Now it looks like Aura needs a 10M loan to fill financing for the project. Great.

At least it looks like it will be a market rate loan for the duration of construction instead of a subsidy.

The parcel is still hasn't been sold to Nassi. His option expired a while ago and he and David Taylor haven't agreed on a new price yet. I'm sure Taylor is asking for a bit more than he originally had.

He said he has locked in construction prices for electrical systems, concrete and glass which sounds like could be huge for preventing higher costs down the road.

Initial reports were that Aura sold 80% the first weekend, then we heard 75%, then 70%, now the staff report says 65%. Interesting. I know one person who backed out and bought a place at L Street Lofts because they were tired of waiting for ground to break.

Staff Report

Aura sure is a nice looking building and I'd love to see it built, even if the parking garage stick out like a sore thumb. It would be nice to sit back and actually watch a couple of these towers get built with out all the drama


LivingInUrbanSac said...

Follow up Business Journal Story:

Aura condos seek city loan
by Michael ShawStaff writer

The developer of the Aura condominium project in downtown Sacramento is seeking a $9.6 million loan from the city of Sacramento as the last piece of financing needed to build the $175 million, 39-story building.

Craig Nassi, of BCN Development in Denver, originally sought a higher amount in the form of a grant and a loan, but city staff examined the financing and determined approximately $10 million would make the project viable, assistant city manager John Dangberg said.

The City Council will consider the loan on Tuesday, though the details aren't finalized, Dangberg said. The loan would be a short-term construction loan at market rates.

If approved, Nassi would have 90 days to secure $150 million in loans and an additional $18 million in equity needed to build Aura. If the financing isn't in place within that three-month timeframe, the loan offer expires. The Council would need to revisit the issue once the loan terms are negotiated. The deal would also give Aura $360,000 in city sewer credits.

The Aura project was approved months ago by the city, but Nassi has not pulled construction permits as he's struggled to pull the project together.

"We should be ready to go within a few weeks after the city council meeting on Tuesday," Nassi said of construction timetable. He said he has locked in construction prices for electrical systems, concrete and glass and doesn't expect fluctuating costs to affect the project.

Nassi said he was unable to secure financing elsewhere.

"The construction market is tough right now," he said. "Sacramento is an unproven market because high-rise condominiums haven't been done."

The city loan would be repaid as condo units close escrow, though the primary lender, Corus Bank, would be repaid first, Dangberg said. The city would borrow against future tax increment money to fund the loan.

Corus is supplying a $132 million loan and Meecorp Capital Markets is acting as a mezzanine lender with a $14.5 million loan.

Dangberg said BCN Development had invested $6 million of its own equity in the project, most likely already spent in design and pre-development. There is an undisclosed third-party equity partner supplying the remaining capital.

Developer John Saca, who's own downtown condo project has ceased construction activity as the project seeks more funding, said it was good news for downtown.

Dangberg said BCN Development had invested $6 million of its own equity in the project, most likely already spent in design and pre-development. There is an undisclosed third-party equity partner supplying the remaining capital.

Developer John Saca, who's own downtown condo project has ceased construction activity as the project seeks more funding, said it was good news for downtown.

"It brings a synergy to downtown," he said of Aura's progress. "At the end of the day, it helps us."

Nassi said he sought a market-rate loan because it would avoid prevailing wage requirements that are tied to low-interest loans or public grants.

If built and fully occupied, Aura would generate about $1.3 million in property taxes annually for the city, Dangberg said.

According to a report from Hanley Wood Market Intelligence, buyers have put down 15-percent deposits on 196 of the project's 268 units, or about 73 percent of them, through November.

The report lists condo prices at Aura ranging from $456,000 for a 766-square-foot residence to $794,000 for a 1,564-square-foot unit. There is an estimated $578 monthly homeowners' association fee.

David Taylor, a developer who owns the property at 601 Capitol Mall where Aura will be built, is traveling and could not be reached for comment on whether a deal had been struck for the property.

SacUrbnPlnr said...

I don't think this comes as a surprise to those of us who put our money down early in the Aura sales process. The continuing promises that groundbreaking "was just around the corner" and the varying reasons for delay never really made sense.

However, if I were a betting man, I would guess that Mr. Nassi will find a way to build his project.

My spouse and I have no regrets about backing out of Aura and purchasing a unit at the L Street Lofts.

The new, enhanced, 3-D visual animation on the Lofts website is very cool and more realistic looking than the previous version.

wburg said...

Not quite as impressive a "tower" but interesting nonetheless, here is a link to some drawings of a 15 unit, four story condo project planned for the corner of Alhambra and T:

and have you seen LJurban's latest plans for the Newton Booth project?

LivingInUrbanSac said...

Yeah, I actually emailed the people at LJ Urban yesterday asking for some additional info on the project.

I want to do a topic on the townhouse projects we are seeing to up there and at 21st and T. Most of the news goes toward condos and lofts (gulity) so I want to hit on these as well. I'm sure a lot of people who would like to move to DT or MT would be very interested in this type of housing.

I should have it out today.

TD said...

SacUrbnPlnr - i think you grabbed a better location with L Street anyway. probably the liveliest spot in midtown.

wburg - i've seen those renderings on the website. does this move the "eyesore" to another location? i saw there were plans for the station too, but is that just an idea or an actual proposal?

and I'm very curious to hear what you have to say about LJ Urban's plans. Seeing as your organization has been so actively involved with other recent developments nearby.

wburg said...

The 21st Street brownstones looked very nice in the renderings: a classic-looking design, but not an out-and-out copy of the existing neighborhood homes. I am curious to see how the real things will turn out.

LivingInUrbanSac said...

I was told they are attempting to move the "eyesore" as you put it. It remains to be seen if it can happen though.

td said...

i just called it that because of the infamous sign that was placed on the chain-link fence surrounding the station - it read ""

i always thought the thing would make a great burger joint - ala jim denny's. but i don't think it's large enough.

wburg said...

td: The plan is to relocate the gas station. The hard part for the developer will be picking one of the several individuals and organizations interested in acquiring it. The developer is going to put in some cash to dismantle and restore the structure. The gas station, even in its sad state, is a neighborhood icon: this project proposes to preserve the original, and provide an equally iconic building in its place. The question then becomes whether four stories is too tall, or if 12 parking spaces is enough for 15 units.

The four-story condo plan is an actual proposal: so was the return to a gas station, which was stopped by neighborhood action. There will be a special meeting for the developer in a few weeks, which will detail the whole plan.

About the LJ Urban plan: I like their attitude, their commitment to environmental awareness and innovative technology borders on the fanatical, and the building ain't bad-looking. It's also a far better plan, overall, than the Mike Klein plans from a few years back. While not all the feedback was positive, their presentation went over pretty well at our public meeting last week, too.

Plus, they are actively searching for someone to take the bungalow--and willing to pay not only for the move but for some restoration! Anyone you know want a free house? All they need is someplace downtown to put it!

Being actively involved with neighborhood developments is part of being a neighborhood activist/troublemaker. It's also the fun part.

td said...

about the Alhambra and T Street condos - the architect built their HQ at 26th and X. I pass by it all the time, and I really like it. It is very quirky, but still manages to seem at home, in a strange way. the condos shown on the newton booth website seem like they would work similarly.

have you heard of any possible locations for the gas station to move to?

about the free house - that's a tough sell. i'm sure as such a consumate preservationist, you can appreciate the dilemma of the building's value versus the land it sits on. and an open lot is probably worth too much to relocate a old bungalow. good for LJ Urban though. they seem to be only outdoing themselves at everything they do.

Anonymous said...

That's the rub. The worst-case scenario, if nobody can find a plot of land, is to deconstruct the house rather than simply demolish it: the old-growth redwood and cedar used to build it is literally impossible to find today, and it can be used for high-quality repairs on other old homes. Only Sutter's unwillingness to delay construction by three days prevented a similar deconstruction of the "House of Furs" house at 28th and Capitol. The best-case scenario is to find a new home for the house, but at the very least it can be an "organ donor" for other older homes.

Incidentally, I have started my own Blogger weblog so I can stop bogarting LIUS' blog (although I plan on continuing to comment!)

Anonymous said...

RE:Alhambra at T project

Hallelujiah!! Art deco is coming to Alhambra. Something other than a glass post-moderinist cube.

(And no, I don't hate ALL post-modernist glass cubes. I just don't like when the world is covered in them)

arrielle_p said...

What a stunning condo building is that. Great to live in there.

makati condominiums

Marian Smith said...

That condo looks so great. Amazing design and structure. So excited to see it real. Another prestige condo like what I see from