Highmark contracts ‘accepted,’ closings pending | SteamboatToday.com

Highmark contracts ‘accepted,’ closings pending

Auctioneer, Realtor say negotiations continue on units

Recently auctioned condominiums at The Highmark include high-end furnishings.

The final outcome of the March 12 auction sale for 15 luxury condominiums at The Highmark near the base of Steamboat Ski Area won't be known until closings actually take place. However, sources close to the sale say the investment group that is holding the indebtedness on the project has accepted the high bids placed on nine of the units. And a Steamboat Springs Realtor said he is in negotiations with a single buyer for the remaining condominiums, which did not attract bidders at the auction.

"I'm working on a bulk sale of the six other units to an out-of-town investment group," Jim Cook, of Colorado Group Realty, said Wednesday.

William Bone, president of the National Auction Group, said the nine auction sales are poised to close by April 1 and that his firm has the listing on the remaining six units. Bone said a 10th Highmark condo went under contract Wednesday. He was unable to specify which unit or how many bedrooms it had.

"I want to sell the rest of them," Bone said. "We need the local real estate community to make it work."

Cook and his colleague and son, Coleman Cook, also represented Wells Fargo Bank in the sale of a Highmark penthouse to a Chicago buyer who was attracted by the marketing of the auction but wound up buying the foreclosed penthouse instead. None of the condominiums offered in the auction were among the top-floor penthouses, which have unusually high ceilings, unfettered views and second-story lofts.

Coleman Cook would not divulge the contracted sale price but said the 2,279-square-foot condominium was listed at $1.35 million.

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The asking price translates to $150 to $200 per square foot more than the range of bids on the auction condominiums.

"There are only three total (penthouse) units on the top floor," Coleman Cook said. "There's nothing quite like it."

He said pending the closings, The Highmark auction and related sales would help the Steamboat market continue the process of finding the prices for a wide variety of real estate products.

"That's what we're all trying to do right now; we're starting to fill in the blanks and determine what is that number that causes the buyer to act," he said.

Jim Cook said he had sent a business plan to the investor interested in a bulk purchase of the six Highmark condos that didn't attract bids in the auction.

"I just finished four assumptive pro formas and sent them off to the client for review," he said. "You still have to show a return on investment. Vacation rental occupancies are down right now, and these things don't fly on 20 percent occupancy."

Cook said the prospective investor learned about The Highmark through an acquaintance with the contracted buyer for the foreclosed penthouse.

The combined amount of the nine bids at last week's auction was $7.68 million. Bone said the 10th contract brings the amount to nearly $8.66 million. The highest single sale amount of the auction overall was a $925,000 bid at the beginning of the auction for a four-bedroom, 3.5-bath condominium that was last listed for $2.3 million. Records on file at the Routt County Courthouse confirm that a similar unit sold for $3.12 million in 2008.

Friday's high bid converted to a price of $477 per square foot. Most of the high bids were lower than advertised minimums. The high bid on one of the four-bedroom condos that sold at the auction was $815,000.

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