I came across this interesting article -- from January 2007 -- about a developer named David Franco turning an unbuilt Washington DC development from luxury condos into rentals. To quote:
"In many cities, banks have significantly scaled back loans to condominium builders. Some have demanded that developers sell half or more of the units in a building before even beginning construction.
In hopes of salvaging something from their costly plans, hundreds of developers like Franco are looking to the strong market for apartments, planning to rent their units for at least a couple of years while waiting for today's condo surplus to shrink.
After six weeks of failing to lure more than a couple dozen buyers, Franco and his partner, Jeff Blum, joined the builders of nearly 6,000 condominium units in the Washington metropolitan area who have decided in the last three months to recast their projects as rental apartment buildings."
Read the whole thing. Like a book we've already read, today we hear this:
"In the face of sales that have ground to a halt, Wall Financial Corp. has decided to scrap its 414-unit Wall Centre False Creek condominium project in favour of building rental apartments on the site, company principal Peter Wall said in an interview.
In its last quarterly financial results, Wall Financial said it had sold almost 30 per cent of the Wall Centre Creek's units, 120 in all, but that sales had come “to almost a complete stop” during the quarter."
I see. What an innovative concept! Vancouver hasn't seen any substantive purpose-built rentals for years now so sounds like a winner; a real contrarian move. Surprised nobody else has thought of that. I would love to see how Mr. Wall pitches this idea to his financial backers, or is he using his own money?