The Centerpoint towers in Tempe were sold for $8 million in a foreclosure sale today to ML Manager LLC, the company representing the project's investors.
The 22- and 30-story towers on five acres of land at Sixth Street and Maple Avenue remain unfinished and upside-down on their mortgage, making for a couple of stark examples of the Valley's crashed real-estate market.
About $195 million is owed on the project, which is said to be worth about $35 million "as is."
As we reported yesterday, ML Manager had planned to start the bidding at $8 million.
Keith Hendricks, one of the attorneys for the investors (who are also the main creditors in the bankruptcy), tells New Times that no one else bid on the property.
That's not surprising, since -- as we learned yesterday -- ML Manager could have upped its "credit bid" over most any competing bid, and competitors would have had to cough up the entire purchase amount within 24 hours.
ML Manager doesn't have to pay cash, though -- their credit bid means "$8 million of the amount they were owed is no longer owing," says Hendricks.
Such is the tricky world of financing.
The screwed-over investors had sunk their hard-earned cash into Mortgages Ltd. a few years ago, only to see the company go bankrupt as its CEO mismanaged their funds as the twilight of recession fell.
Now, ML Manager will prepare to market and sell the property for the highest price possible. Experts say the investors aren't likely to see much return on the debt.
Whoever buys the towers will have to spend tens of millions of dollars to finish them -- but even then, demand could be lacking for the hundreds of dwelling spaces in the towers.
Mark Winkleman, CEO of ML Manager, told us yesterday that he expects that someone will be interested.
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In the last year, the company has been "contacted by in excess of 100 (potential) buyers without doing any marketing," he says.
We imagine it will be at least a couple more years before we'll see lights in those towers.
If you want to learn more about the development -- and economic failure -- of this project, read our comprehensive October 15 article.