Spire, one of the fastest-selling condominium projects in the U.S. last year, almost didn’t happen. “It’s remarkable I’m talking to you now,” says Chris Crosby, executive vice president for Nichols Partnership, the project’s developer.
Nichols bought the land for the 42-story tower in downtown Denver in 2005 at the height of the housing boom. It broke ground in 2007, as the crash gathered momentum. Then the project came to an abrupt halt for five months when it lost its first lender.
A second lender, procured in January 2008, financed most of the rest of the construction. But then that lender was taken over by the FDIC in September 2009 as construction was close to complete. A partnership between the FDIC and Starwood Capital held up closings for another five months until Nichols could prove enough of the buyers it had signed up would close on their units. “They had no faith in the project,” says Crosby. That wasn’t surprising since many downtown condominiums across the country were sitting half-finished or empty then.
Relief came in April 2010, when 125 buyers, nearly 100 percent of sign-ups, closed on their units. By the end of 2010, 201 units had closed, making Spire most likely the fastest-selling condominium in the country. By April 2011, 250 units, more than half the building’s 493 units, were sold.
Spire’s sales make up roughly 80 percent of the Denver condominium market these days. “[Other projects] may get one or two sales a month,” says Crosby. “We get 10 to 13.” He attributes some of the project’s success to its LEED certification and sleek design. But the chief drivers would have to be a price point that starts in the $200,000s, a convenient location, and resort-like amenities.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Denver, CO.