One of Chapel Hill’s most controversial mixed-use developments is transforming itself into a success story.
Greenbridge Condominiums, the 10-story West Rosemary Street development, relaunched sales efforts in August after foreclosure and a change of ownership led to a two-year sales freeze.
A total of about 15 contracts are now pending.
Tim Toben, the developer for the site, said the adjusted pricing for the units has made them more affordable, which might have increased demand.
“When it was foreclosed on, all of the equity and much of the debt was wiped out, so the cost basis for pricing the units became much lower,” he said.
Condominiums range in size from one bedroom units, priced in the low $200s, to three bedroom units, priced in the high $500s.
Toben said the condominiums are being sold for much lower than what Bank of America — the development’s bank — originally required.
Greenbridge was touted for its environmentally friendly features when it first opened in fall 2010.
But many worried Greenbridge would further gentrify the historically black and low-income Northside neighborhood, sparking criticism, protests and bomb threats.
The development was foreclosed in 2011.
Last year, Greenbridge was purchased by Square Mile Capital Management LLC, Invesco Ltd. and Canyon Capital Realty Advisors LLC as part of an $889-million portfolio of distressed loans.
Uri Vaknin of The Marketing Directors, which oversees sales and marketing at Greenbridge, said the new owners are taking a strategic approach to promotion.
“They don’t go in and do a slash and burn of pricing,” he said. “They’re not afraid to spend money and do it right.”
Dwight Bassett, economic development officer for Chapel Hill, said the new pricing has made Greenbridge comparable to other housing developments, which might have a hand in its newfound success.
“What they’ve done is pretty significant. They’re trying to be more competitive with others in the market, and that’s important,” he said.
Bobby Funk, assistant director of the Chapel Hill Downtown Partnership, said the Greenbridge is a great addition to downtown because of its environmentally conscious design and accessibility to restaurants and shops.
“It’s a wonderful addition to our downtown’s vibe,” he said. “We’re very excited to see that property to continue to prosper.”
Diane Race, a two-year resident at Greenbridge, said she remains a staunch supporter of the development despite its embattled past.
“We are aware of the happenings, but they didn’t affect our quality of life at all,” Race said.
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