Philadelphia–When the Waterfront Square Condominium and Spa project is completed, 1,000 units will come online in the city of Philadelphia. As of now, two phases have been completed, which include three buildings. Construction on the third phase hasn’t even begun, but the developer is confident that it will be completed sometime in the future. While the financing is in place, demand for condos isn’t that high, which is probably why the developer is waiting to get started on the third phase.
“There is no doubt that we have overbuilt in the condos market like anywhere else in the country,” Mickey Pascarella, real estate agent for the project, tells MHN. “That said, the great product at a great price and good financing always sells. That’s our strategy.” Pascarella has a point—considering that the first two towers, The Regatta and The Peninsula, have been completely sold out.
He admits the condo market is a buyers’ market right now. “We have a 10.3-month absorption rate. For a balanced market it should be a five to seven-month absorption rate. A lot of projects didn’t get built in the first place (for example the Trump project which would have been right across from Waterfront), or were made rental instead of condos,” explains Pascarella.
Waterfront Square is located across 9.5 acres on the banks of the Delaware River and is the city’s only gated waterfront property. It offers hotel-style amenities, around-the-clock concierge service and valet parking. Owing to the economic downturn, Waterfront Square’s most recently completed building—the third tower, The Reef—is now on the market for 30-49 percent off original prices. Prices start at $318,500 and go all the way to 3.3 million for the bi-level penthouse.
All the buildings are situated around Philadelphia’s largest green roof, with an expansive and manicured park, as well as a private putting green.
Inside, each condominium is laid out with 10-ft. ceilings, spacious marbled bathrooms and custom kitchens, available in one-, two- and three-bedroom units or penthouse suites. Every condominium features a private, glass-railed terrace with views of the Ben Franklin Bridge, Delaware River and the Center City skyline.
The property’s riverfront health, fitness and recreation complex, The Lighthouse, features an Olympic-sized indoor/outdoor pool, sauna and steam rooms, fitness center, sun decks, a European spa and more.
Pascarella says the new sales team recently came on board. “Our first order of business was to do a 38 percent price drop on 25 of our units to reset the pricing. Since then we have sold five units. It did take a reset and relook at pricing to make sure we were at or below market value,” he says.
So who exactly are these buyers flocking to buy conods in Philadelphia? “In the beginning, when market was crazy, there was an investor push. People thought they would make a lot of money by flipping condos. But now 95 percent of the project is owner occupied,” he says.
Pascarella expects it will take about 12 months for the third tower to sell out. Since no other new condo projects are coming on the market in the next 12-18 months, Pascarella’s prediction will probably come true. Unless of course the September 2010 opening of a gaming casino called Sugar House steps away from Waterfront discourages people from buying there.