Park Place Condominiums

Anchorage

1982

The Park Place Condominiums was a 160,000 square foot ground-up development project of a three building garden apartment complex with 96 luxury condo units and an underground parking garage.

The two acre property was in a desirable downtown location located near the “parkstrip” greenbelt in Anchorage, Alaska. A group of “out of town developers” from Texas paid for a big newspaper advertisement showing two 15 story residential towers they planned for the site. They intended to use the same plan they had used for a successful project in Texas. When the neighborhood erupted in protest the developers quickly changed their mind and decided to sell the site.  We formed a partnership with four partners, with Walsh Investment Company putting up the equity and credit of $10,000,000 required for the project.

We knew we wanted to do something new and different for the market and we needed design ideas so we hit the road. We went south to get ideas for the project and found what we were looking for in the Kitsilano neighborhood of Vancouver, British Colombia: a garden apartment concept with underground parking with an interior courtyard on top. At the time, like today, financing condominium development was very difficult because of how frequently developers are sued by Homeowner Associations over construction defects.

When we built the complex of four-story buildings surrounded a nice central courtyard, every other apartment building in town had surface parking only. We were the only one to have underground parking which was a huge competitive advantage in snowy Alaska. We had solid earnest money pre-sales on all 96 units with a backup offer on each unit. The project was a financial success and it also received several awards from the City of Anchorage and the Chamber of Commerce.

 

Investment Thesis

Garden apartment style properties became popular in the lower 48 states during the 1970s but the concept was still relatively new, untested in Alaska at the time. When we purchased the land it was the highest per square foot price ever paid for residential land. target buyer was people who wanted to downsize from a house. there was no inventory for them at the time.

Lessons Learned

During this project we were reminded to always choose your partners wisely. Our joint venture partner was not willing to do a lot of change orders for clients who bought the condo units. These buyers had to bring in their own contractors to do the change order work they wanted. As a result Walsh Investment Company politely declined to partner on future project this partner asked us to finance.