The Curious Case Of The Burnham Park Plaza Condos

Located at 40 E. 9th Street, the Burnham Park Plaza condos caught my attention a while back when a client became interested in one of the “penthouse” units with 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, and 1 garage space. Unit 1902 was arguably one of the most peculiar short sales I’ve seen and it left me scratching my head.

Marked Down From $1,200,000 to $395,000!

66% Off!

Choose your headline. Either one of those would have worked. And those are not typos. According to the recorder’s office this unit originally sold for $1.1 MM in April 2007. Since the owner had made such a great purchase they put it on the market in May 2008 for $1.2 MM. That makes sense, right? Everyone was entitled to a 9% profit 1 1/2 years after the bubble popped. Since then there have been 10 price drops and 622 days later it’s still on the market.

Let me fill you in on a few details about this condo. It’s marketed as having 1650 square feet but we came up with more like 1500. And the finishes are rather cheap. Yeah, the view is decent but not spectacular and there is some risk that future development to the east will block the view. So there is simply no way on earth that this condo was ever worth more than somewhere in the 300s. So the first thought is: Was this fraud where the buyer was in cahoots with the developer to bilk the banks?

Second, the original listing clearly indicated that this was a short sale but the new listing does not. Perhaps that’s an oversight. I will tell you though that the listing agent had absolutely no optimism that he could close this deal because there are two different mortgages on the property and, while Washington Mutual originated both mortgages, they are now owned by two different entities that can’t agree on a course of action. We submitted an offer and never so much as got an acknowledgment from the agent. We lost interest anyway so it didn’t matter. But the property just sits there and it’s not at all clear why the listing is even out there. They can’t even sell it for $1 if they can’t get the banks to agree. Granted, my information is several months old so it’s possible that the banks got their act together. Yeah, right.

But there’s even more to the story. Now unit 1901D, with 3 bedrooms and 3 baths, is on the market for $316,000. Also purchased in April 2007, this condo originally sold for $1,400,000. Did I mention the $1,667/month assessment compared to 1902’s $541 assessment? Be the first on your block to have an assessment that is higher than your mortgage payment. Oh …and it’s not a short sale?!?!?!?!?!?

Then there is unit 1903. Apparently not everyone overpaid for these penthouses. This 2 bedroom, 2 bath condo was purchased in December 2005 for $375,000. It’s now on the market for $339,500. It has 1700 square feet and the monthly assessment is $911.

I could go on but I think you get the picture. I’m curious if anyone knows the inside story on this building.

0 thoughts on “The Curious Case Of The Burnham Park Plaza Condos

  1. Wow, Gary. That is a weird one. If you find out more, I hope you’ll do a follow-up post.

  2. I did a little bit of poking around and it looks like this deserves a follow up – perhaps after I cover tomorrow’s Case Shiller release.

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