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Saturday, July 7, 2012 - Page updated at 07:30 p.m.
Auction marks Suncadia's return to marketing condos
By David Lester
CLE ELUM, Kittitas County — After a three-year hiatus because of a downturn in the real-estate market, Suncadia is again marketing condominiums in its Lodge at Suncadia.
The owners are taking a new tack: An auction of 35 units at significantly discounted starting bids is scheduled for July 22 at the lodge, part of the 6,400-acre resort near Cle Elum.
In addition to the lodge, Suncadia includes miles of hiking trails, three golf courses, a fitness center and private home sites.
The auction follows a recapitalization of the resort in May that created a new name and an additional partner for Lowe Enterprises, an original owner of the resort development. A subsidiary of Oaktree Capital Management, a Los Angeles firm that specializes in distressed debt, now owns a majority stake after a transaction in which debt was exchanged for equity.
A Lowe affiliate created in the joint venture will continue to manage the resort.
The joint venture is now known as New Suncadia. Roger Beck, Suncadia managing director, said the resort is on a strong financial footing.
"We went through some difficult financial times when we were having a hard time meeting our financial obligations," he said. "By paying off the bank and having a new equity partner, we are far stronger."
Kennedy Wilson Auction Group of Los Angeles will conduct the auction of furnished one-bedroom, two-bedroom and penthouse condos.
Minimum bids range from $70,000 to $205,000 for units that were priced in a range from $339,000 to $1.1 million when the six-story lodge opened in April 2008.
Beck said Suncadia withdrew a total of 76 units in the 223-unit lodge from the market three years ago when the real-estate market in the Seattle area tanked. Now the timing is right to resume marketing efforts, he said, citing a stronger real-estate market in the Seattle area.
Suncadia had sold 147 units when sales were suspended. The 35 units available for auction are part of the 76 that remain unsold.
Beck said the auction helps to accelerate the marketing process.
"Basically, we could choose to sell them one at a time or we could choose to try to sell them all in one sales event. That is what we have chosen to do," Beck said.
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