Wall Street woes hit Surrey condo development
Published Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:04AM PDT
Tremors from the worldwide economic crunch are hitting home as one of Surrey's biggest condo developments faces uncertain times while its developer scrambles to find new investors
It's because the project's initial investor was Lehman Bros., the big name U.S. firm that went bankrupt recently and sparked the global financial crisis
When it was unveiled three years ago, Infinity promised to become one of the Lower Mainland's largest condo developments.
But the five-tower project next to the King George SkyTrain station may never reach its potential.
Its developer - Jung Developments has filed for bankruptcy protection after its partner in the $350 million project went under. That partner was Lehman Bros.
"It is a bit disconcerting with that link - however - knowing the individuals involved and knowing who they're speaking to now, we're pretty confident that that'll get resolved in short order," said Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts.
Meanwhile, Watts hopes that Infinity's 560 pre-sale buyers stay calm.
"We have to really realize that they're not bankrupt,'' she said.
A real estate marketing official agreed.
"It is a long ways from the project going under. If the project goes under they lose nothing,'' said Cameron McNeill, a real estate marketer with Mac Marketing Solutions.
What the [buyers] may be losing is time. So far only one Infinity tower is occupied. Two are still under construction - and the final two haven't even broken ground.
"There is a lot of panic,'' said McNeill. "A lot of people see the global headlines that are happening around the world and what happens in the global financial markets does impact us. This is an example of that,'' he said.
Jung Development is in negotiations with three local big name developers. It is confident it will find the $100 million needed to finish the project.
"I think it is a very solid project. Given the state of the economic situation I don't think anybody can forecast that,'' said Watts.
With the Quattro development recently going up in flames - and now Infinity coming to a screeching halt, Watts hopes Surrey 's latest development woes will resolve themselves soon.
"I think they're blips in the long process because I think with anything, we don't have any knowledge of what's going to happen from one day to the other,'' she said.
With a report by CTV British Columbia's Reshmi Nair.