Florida development company buys Marin condos

Published on Wed, Jun 20, 2012 by Jeremy Schwartz

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Crews from Lynden-based Dun-Rite Pressure Washing prepare the exterior of Building A in the Marin Condominiums complex for eventual sale. Photo by Jeremy Schwartz.


Late last week, Patten Sales and Marketing, a land sales and development company based in Florida, became the new owner of the Marin condominium buildings A and B.

Sited next to the Semiahmoo Resort, the project sat vacant and unfinished for five years and spurred calls from a number of Semiahmoo residents to have the city demolish the buildings.

According to the Whatcom County assessor’s office, Patten paid $7 million to Seattle Bank for the property, which had been listed for $10 million. The original owners, Andrew and Wanda Shaw of B.C., poured $26 million into the project before losing the property in foreclosure to Seattle Bank after defaulting on an $18 million loan.

Patten executive Joe O’Brien said the high-end Marin condominiums, originally priced from $600,000 to $1.8 million, will most likely go for half of those prices. O’Brien said Patten’s sales agency will begin the marketing campaign in Vancouver, Blaine and Bellingham within the month.

“We’ll be selling the first building within the next few weeks,” O’Brien said.

Work crews spent most of June 19 sprucing up building A, while others worked on the electrical design plans for the unfinished building B. The sound of pressure washers and gas-powered generators droned on in the background.

  Roger Anderson, manager of Ferndale-based Express Electric, said the new owners want building B finished in nine months. Anderson’s company just started redesigning the electrical system of the unfinished building, which also needs a new building permit from the city of Blaine.

“It’s got some cleaning up to do,” Anderson said as he looked toward the bare concrete and exposed steel skeleton of the

Work to finish building B is expected to begin within the next 90 days, once a building permit has been obtained from the city, and take about nine months. O’Brien described the unfinished building as 30 percent complete, and crews will work on the exterior first, since Patten has already gotten the proper approvals from the Semiahmoo Resort Association.

O’Brien said he has been working full-time on the purchase since February of this year. He said his company had to do a great deal of research and analysis on building B to learn what needed to be done to finish it quickly and safely.

All-steel and concrete construction make the buildings stand out in a market where those materials are generally used on buildings five stories and higher, O’Brien said. The quality interiors of the condominiums, with granite countertops and dark-wood cabinetry, also make the living spaces unique in his eyes.

“Marin is one of the best-built condos I’ve ever seen,” O’Brien said.

Despite the current housing market, O’Brien said he’s confident the high-end condominiums at bargain prices will sell relatively quickly. Patten Sales and Marketing plans to focus on end-use sales, sales to buyers who plan to actually live in the condominiums, and O’Brien said the end-use market has stayed relatively strong through the recent economic downturn.

“As long as they’re a good deal, people will buy them,” O’Brien said.

According to statistics compiled by RealEstats.com, the average price of a condominium in Whatcom County was $205,122 as of December 2011, down 11 percent from 2010. 2011 saw 273 condominiums sold, down from 279 in 2010.

Patten stopped short of buying the bare concrete slab that was supposed to be building C. Based on the cost of building the third tower from scratch, O’Brien said his company decided it was best to let the bank keep it for now.

“Our plan is to purchase that [building] at a later date,” O’Brien said. “We have no plans for it for now.”

For more information on the Marin condominiums, contact O’Brien at 719/251-3322 or visit pattensm.com.

Above, right: Joe O’Brien, with Florida-based Patten Sales and Marketing, walks through the unfinished Building B in the Marin Condominiums complex on June 19. Photo by Jeremy Schwartz