Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Centerpoint project sold; summer debut planned

Jack Kurtz/The Arizona Republic The Centerpoint development has stood dormant for years. Now, the project, renamed West Sixth, has a new owner and is back on a timetable for completion. The towers, near downtown Tempe, may be ready for residents in August.

The delay-plagued Centerpoint residential complex has been sold, with the buyer pledging to immediately resume construction on the two luxury high-rise buildings, convert them to apartments and complete the project so that tenants can start moving in beginning in late summer.

Zaremba Group, a Cleveland-based developer, paid $30 million for the project in a deal with ML Manager LLC of Peoria that closed Friday. Zaremba will give the project a new name, West Sixth, to reflect its location just west of downtown Tempe.

ML Manager is the successor to initial lender Mortgages Ltd., which had extended $135 million in financing on the project. ML Manager was formed to dispose of and maximize the revenue potential from bankrupt Mortgages Ltd.'s remaining assets.

Zaremba had announced plans to buy the project last year but backed out over legal issues focused around liens placed on the property by unpaid contractors.

The twin high-rise project at 111 W. Sixth St. broke ground in 2005, with developer Tempe Land Co. intending it as a high-end condominium complex featuring an upscale retail plaza, restaurants and a winery. When the developer defaulted, the project was taken over by ML Manager LLC and lingered in an incomplete phase, with nearby businesses and residents complaining that it had become an eyesore.

The property failed to sell at a foreclosure auction in April.

The project consists of 22-story and 30-story high rises. Phase I, focusing on the 22-story building, will be ready for occupancy by Aug. 1 and include mixed-use retail and restaurant space on the ground floor.

Phase II, the 30-story residential tower, will be completed by December, Zaremba said. In total, the buildings will incorporate 375 apartments, which is also the number of condominiums that were originally anticipated.

The West Sixth development will feature amenities such as a 9,000-square-foot fitness facility with a yoga studio, tanning beds and lounge. The complex's resort-style pool area will feature cabanas, fire pits and barbecues.

Apartment rental rates haven't been announced.

"West Sixth offers unmatched amenities and will be the pinnacle for urban lifestyle," said Kent Chantung, director of residential development for Zaremba Group, in a statement.

Zaremba, which manages three other properties in the Valley, specializes in stabilizing distressed housing developments.

"West Sixth represents a significant contribution to growth and construction for the Valley and will expand Tempe's standing as a significant metropolitan destination," Chantung said.

Zaremba is a third-generation family business that started as a home-remodeling business in 1920.


Centerpoint timeline


July: Groundbreaking for developer Avenue Communities' first two of four proposed 22-story towers near Mill Avenue and Sixth Street. The price per unit is expected to start at about $250,000.


February: Attorneys for Phoenix question Centerpoint's height, saying it would affect the safety of planes from Sky Harbor International Airport.

October: Federal Aviation Administration gives the go-ahead for Centerpoint's 30-story tower.


June: Mortgages Ltd., the state's largest private commercial real-estate lender, files for bankruptcy after the suicide of its CEO. Centerpoint, one of numerous of high-profile Valley developments backed by the lender, is in jeopardy.

December: Developers for Centerpoint had worked to get court approval for a second financier to back project. That effort does not result in financing and developer files bankruptcy. Second 30-story tower is about half finished.


January: Towers in foreclosure with auction set for April.

April: Towers fail to sell at auction, and ML Manager LLC, successor to Mortgages Ltd., readies to market towers for sale. Area merchants complain that towers are rundown and transients are entering them for shelter.

September: Zaremba Group, a Cleveland-based real-estate firm, announced it was buying the complex for $30 million and planned to convert it into apartments. Tenants could be moving into 22-story Tower 1 by March, the developers said.

November: Zaremba Group backs out of the deal.


February: Zaremba Group. closes Feb. 18 on a new $30 million deal with ML Manager. Zaremba announces the properties will be renamed West Sixth and should be ready for tenants to move in by late summer.

by Russ Wiles The Arizona Republic Feb. 22, 2011 12:00 AM

Centerpoint project sold; summer debut planned

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