The Victory Loft Building in Richmond VA is a case study of the successful (and highly profitable) ‘apartment-to-condominium’ conversion that we completed between 2020-2022.
Originally built in 1890, this 18,500 sq ft warehouse building in the Oregon Hill neighborhood was renovated into 12 loft-style apartments in 2014 utilizing both the Federal and State Historic tax credit programs.
Converting an existing apartment building into condos presents several challenges that need to be addressed –– and this project was no different. Here are a few examples of the specific challenges at Victory Lofts:
– Since historic tax credits were used, the recapture period required the building to remain as an investment property for a minimum of 5 years
– The transition from apartments to condominiums can potentially create a high vacancy rate and destroy profits for the owner if not executed properly
– Financing in a condominium conversion can be challenging as well, with less favorable rates and terms for the purchasers
– Correctly writing the condominium bylaws can also present challenges if written in such a way that conflicts with conventional mortgage guidelines
– The fit and finish of apartments and common spaces isn’t necessarily the same as that expected by condo buyers
– A lack of true comparable properties, along with future value projections created pricing and appraisal challenges
We started the conversation early, about a year prior to the expiration of the tax credit recapture period, which allowed us plenty of time to research, communicate with prospective clients, and compile a customized success plan.
– Leading team discussions involving ownership, management, vendors, our condo lending specialist and the real estate attorney to ensure a singular focus and a unified approach to this apartment to condo conversion.
– Creating a detailed pricing and sales schedule matrix outlining the pathway to success.
– We predicted key dates measuring when we needed each unit to be for sale, presold, vacant and/or on the open market.
– This working timeline established comparable data, necessary lending benchmarks and helped optimize values via incremental price increases
– Inspecting each condo unit to produce an itemized spreadsheet for any needed upfit or punch out suggestions to optimize profit and reduce marketing time.
– Carefully examining the condo rules and regulations to ensure the final condominium declaration was both as buyer and lender friendly as possible to ensure the highest sale prices and largest target buyer pool possible.
– Finding resourceful solutions to maintain necessary lender ratios and capital expense funding
– Only one condo was used as an initial model unit for photography, video and open houses – minimizing vacancy and carry costs.
We were able to efficiently and profitably reposition an underperforming apartment building by extracting value out of each phase of the condo conversion. The condos helped provide much needed for sale housing and the sellers were able to make a handsome profit. A true win-win scenario.
While every apartment or office building isn’t a good fit for a condominium conversion, there are many lucrative opportunities hidden within plain sight in this inventory starved housing market. It all starts with assembling the proper team to perform an evaluation of the existing building asset, followed by the formulation of an executable plan.
Feel free to reach out to us with any questions or potential projects that you would like to have evaluated and we would be happy to help you make an informed decision on the feasibility of the condo conversion.
10+ year industry veteran and multiple-time Distinguished Achiever award winner and 2017 Richmond’s Finest Business Professional