September 16, 2008
What about the hippie bohemian attorneys?

(I drafted this last week, before we left town and before we knew where Ike was going. I figure all bets are off now, but I thought I'd run it anyway, if only to serve as a reference point.)

Time for an update on my favorite construction project in Houston, from Nancy Sarnoff.

The developers of Sonoma, a high-end condo and retail project in the works for Rice Village, are altering their construction plans in hopes of getting a loan to build the project, delayed for several months due to the widespread credit crisis.

Randall Davis, the project's fee developer, and Lamesa Corp., the owner, were originally seeking a $100 million construction loan, with 30 percent equity, to build the first phase of the project -- 125 units.

But they were unable come to terms on a deal as lending tightened.

Now they're negotiating for a $70 million loan with 40 percent equity to build the smaller second phase of 85 units.

"Hopefully they'll respond positively since we have so many sales," said Davis.

The sales, however, are for the first phase of the project, which has been 50 percent pre-sold.

Those buyers have 5 percent earnest money in the title company, which will increase to 10 percent once construction starts, and have signed binding contracts, said Lamesa's Julie Tysor.

As we know, it can take more than a year for a project like this to go from demolition to construction under normal circumstances. This site was demolished last October, so they're not behind the curve just yet. At this point, Lord only knows when or even if they'll get back on track. If something happens before the end of the year, they should feel pretty damn lucky. Swamplot has more.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on September 16, 2008 to Elsewhere in Houston
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