Centerpoint Tower Close-of-Sale Delayed; Deal Probably Will be Finished by Week's End, Says Company Rep

The $30 million sale of the Centerpoint Towers in Tempe was supposed to close on Friday, but has been delayed.

Kent Chantung, a vice president of Zaremba Group, the Ohio company purchasing the beleaguered property at 6th Street and Maple says the inability to finish the deal last week isn't a sign that any major problems have arisen.

The sale is on target to close in a few days, Chantung tells New Times.

After the deal is done, he says, Zaremba will issue a bulletin to the news media and start giving more details to the public about the upcoming construction project to finish the towers.

As we've reported, the previous developer estimated it would take $45 million to complete the shorter, 22-story tower, and $75 million to finish both.

That estimate's old, though, and perhaps Zaremba has figured out a way to use the recession to its advantage and get the job done cheaper. Some of the previous luxuries planned for Centerpoint, like the fancy wine bar, probably won't be part of the new scheme even though Zaremba says one of its priorities will be to fill the towers' ground-floor retail space.)

A September 9 Arizona Republic article has Zaremba saying it expects to finish the project for "less than $100 million."

Either way, Zaremba's apparently got the money: It's financed partly by the California Teachers' Pension Fund, according to an August 8, 2008 story in the Republic. (Amusing side-note: The September 9 article by Dianna Nanez states that "Chantung said he could not disclose the company's financial backers but he described them as one of the "largest and longest-tenured pension funds in the country.")

The Repub's 2008 article about the planned apartment complex by Zaremba in Chandler is worth re-reading in the context of the latest deal in Tempe. As critics back then noted, renters simply don't take care of property as well as condo owners.

The towers in Tempe won't be the classy condos once envisioned by developers -- that much is clear. It'll be interesting to see just what kind of high-rise party headquarters they become for the students who live there.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.