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25 condos in Rocketts Landing go on the auction block
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25 condos in Rocketts Landing go on the auction block

The VWS Cos.looks to finish off first phase of project

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Rocketts Landing is closing out its first phase of development by auctioning off 25 condominiums.

The residential and commercial riverfront community, which got off the ground during the real estate recession, will sell these condos at the Westin Richmond Hotel in Henrico County on May 20 at 7 p.m.

“We have some inventory left, and we want to change the focus to the next phase,” said Jason Vickers-Smith, president of The WVS Cos., developer of the project off Osborne Turnpike that straddles the Richmond-Henrico County line.

Nearly all 248 condos in Rocketts Landing were under contract before the buildings were built, Vickers-Smith said.

But construction took a couple of years. The recession hit. And some people forfeited deposits of 5 percent of the value of the units they had reserved.

“People didn’t close and the contracts kicked out,” Vickers-Smith said. “We were caught in the teeth of the recession — 2007, 2008 and 2009.”

Condos at Rocketts Landing, with the exception of these, sold from the $150,000s up to $1.2 million.

The reserve or minimum bid prices for the unsold one- and two-bedroom condos are up to 46 percent below the last asking price and well below the replacement cost.

“It’s a very bold move for the developer to use this dynamic,” said Jon Gollinger, co-founder of Accelerated Marketing Partners, a Boston-based auction house that will handle the sale.

“The developer has put his faith in the marketplace and in Richmond,” Gollinger said.

Selling the condos on the open market could take up two years, Vickers-Smith said. Selling them at auction is a one-month process with 45 days to close.

“We started the project seven years ago in an industrial area that had been forgotten,” he said. “At this point, we are at the end of the first four blocks of development with 650,000 square feet of residential and commercial development.”

The project has succeeded as a live, work and play community, he said. “We have been able to see the original plan come to fruition, but we still have three-quarters of the project to build out.”

He estimated that Rocketts Landing is 10 years from being 100 percent complete.

Construction on a 157-unit apartment building will start this summer.

The second phase also includes the completion of four luxury town homes, starting at $1.1 million. Three are sold, and the fourth is under contract.

Starting today, the condos for auction will be open for viewing for four weeks on Thursdays, Fridays and Mondays from noon to 6:30 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“We want buyers to be able to walk through the 25 units and spend as much time as they need to determine which units work best for them,” Gollinger said.

The 25 units are in three buildings — Fall Line, Sky Line and 210 Rock. All are ready for occupancy:

• Seven one-bedroom condos ranging from 893 square feet to 1,456 square feet. Minimum bids range from $125,000 to $200,000.

• Eighteen two-bedroom units from 1,109 square feet to 2,188 square feet. Minimum bids are $160,000 to $375,000.

“We won’t entertain offers below the reserve prices,” Gollinger said.

Buyers must have $5,000 in certified funds to bid. They will be required to put down 5 percent of purchase price on the day of the auction.

Investors can purchase up to eight units in 210 Rock. However, no investor rental units can be sold in the Fall Line and Sky Line buildings.

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