Steamboat Springs Paul Franklin, developer of The Olympian at Fifth and Yampa streets, is testing his hypothesis that interested buyers in his downtown luxury condo building can be motivated to get in the game with a 20 percent price discount.
For his most expensive penthouses, that could add up to $395,000.
"I believe there is pent-up energy on the sidelines right now," Franklin said. "In this market, people are looking for deals. I think I can release that energy by offering deals."
The offer of a 20 percent discount is good only for the next three sales at the 23-unit project, Franklin said. The intent is to create urgency, which in turn could lead to some sales momentum, which, Franklin hopes, will bolster consumer confidence in his product.
Franklin said he is in final negotiations on converting his construction loan at The Olympian to long-term financing. He said the discount program is not about his ability to carry the completed project but about hesitancy in the marketplace.
"It has nothing to do with my financial position," Franklin said. "We came into this with a very good pro forma. It's about the market and people looking for a deal."
Thus far, two units have sold at The Olympian, one of three deed-restricted, affordable units and a one-bedroom market-rate condominium that had an asking price of $636,000.
The one market-rate sale represents the bottom of the price range at The Olympian, which offers unobstructed views of the Yampa River, right across the street from many of the condos.
The amount of the discount Franklin is offering will range with the asking prices. For example, a two-bedroom, 2.5-bath condo on the fourth floor priced at $994,000 would be discounted $198,800 to $795,200. The price per square foot would drop from $745 to $596.
At the top of the scale, a three-bedroom, two-bath penthouse with views of the ski area and Sleeping Giant comprising 2,131 square feet and priced at $1.975 million would be reduced to $1.58 million.
Among the four new downtown condominium projects completed last year, the majority of units remain unsold.
Franklin said he has been working closely with Mark Scully, principal for Green Courte Partners, whose downtown assets include Alpen Glow and Howelsen Place, to promote the attractiveness of living downtown.
Scully said he is looking forward to the first full summer without major construction on the side streets off Lincoln Avenue.
"It's the reintroduction of downtown Steamboat," Scully said. "We're encouraged by the demand for nightly rentals in our properties."
Scully said he and his partners at Ski Town Lifestyle Properties, the Steamboat sales arm of Green Courte, constantly are reviewing pricing and probably will unveil some price reductions in June.
"We have what we think is the best project in town at Howelsen Place," Scully said. "We also intend to compete with Paul (Franklin) and everyone downtown, as well as on the mountain."
Franklin thinks his own property has qualities that can't be replicated in downtown, including large heated decks overlooking the river that can accommodate hot tubs and large common areas including an interior courtyard that walls out the ambient noise of downtown. Six of the units have semi-private, lock-off elevators that deliver residents into their own foyers.
The design aesthetic reflects a historic urban loft, mixing steel details and exposed ductwork with warm wood flooring and trim. The relatively small size of the project allowed Franklin to work with architectural firm Vertical Arts to ensure each condominium is distinctly different from the others.
The listing broker for The Olympian is Tom Wilson, of Prudential Steamboat Realty.