A CLOSER LOOK
LAST BARGAIN-COUNTER HOMES ARE SELLING FAST
BYLINE: By Joe Catalano. Joe Catalano is a freelance writer.
SECTION: REAL ESTATE; Page C07
January 30, 1998, Friday, ALL EDITIONS
WHEN SALES BEGAN last week on the remaining 274 units of a Moriches complex for seniors 55 and over, it marked the end of an era, according to the project's developer.
The villas and coach homes along with the units in a trio of three-story mid-rise buildings that will be constructed are all part of the last large workout that remains on Long Island.
Workouts are the real estate term used when financially sound developers take over a project started by another builder that has gone into foreclosure or bankruptcy. When the real estate downturn hit Long Island at the end of the '80's, dozens of new projects were never completed or barely started as sales of new homes ground to a halt everywhere. Lenders who foreclosed on the properties, hoping to salvage some of their investment, began selling the projects to established builders. These builders took what was already there, often updating the models, and selling the few newly constructed unsold units for less than what owners living in the project had paid before sales ground to a halt. Although their property values dropped, owners finally saw their partially completed communities finished.
Units in workouts can be sold for less because the developer obtains the land at a bargain price. In addition, costly infrastructure items, such as roads and sewer connections, are often in place.
Since the decade began, Steven Klar, president of the Klar Organization in East Meadow, has done 20 workouts throughout Long Island. He said this homeowners association for active seniors in Moriches, where sales began last Friday, is the last large workout have missed a stray small subdivision or two with just a handful of units.
Now that new home sales are doing well, and this being the last large workout, "the tough times are behind us," Klar said. He warned that units in his next project will cost buyers more because of current land costs and building a project from the ground up at full price.
Klar purchased the 30.5-acre unbuilt portion of the 100-acre purchased it two years earlier from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after the original developer, Bregman Construction Corp., CORRECTION: Bregman Construction Corp., a 44-year-old company that has developed and managed projects valued at more than $100 million, has not filed for bankruptcy and is still operating. A story in Friday's Real Estate section incorrectly said Bregman filed for bankruptcy in 1992 in connection with a housing complex originally called Waterways At Bay Pointe. The entity that filed for bankruptcy in January, 1993, was Bay Pointe Associates. Pg. A02 ALL 1/31/98 went bankrupt in 1992. Bregman had built, completed and sold 228 units.
The project has been renamed by Klar The Waterways At Moriches. It ponds on the property and Klar has added two more.
"Bregman spent an awful lot of money" on the project, Klar said. Already in place were the roadways, a manned gatehouse, a clubhouse, a swimming pool, a marina with 22 boatslips and two tennis courts. Klar is adding two more tennis courts. The development also has its own sewage treatment plant. prices range from $157,000 to $235,000.
Of the first 124 homes to be built, 60 will be coach homes. These consist of four two-bedroom units per building with the two downstairs units priced at $157,000 and the two upstairs at $175,000.
There are also 64 villas in buildings of two each. The side-by-side, single-level two-bedroom units are priced from $195,000 to $235,000.
The project's second phase will be a trio of three-story buildings with elevators, each having 50 units. Prices for those have not been set.
Those currently living in the community are paying $310 a month for maintenance. That is expected to drop to $275 a month as the cost of operating the recreational facilities and complex is shared by the new households, Klar said.
Gas heat is also being brought in and will be less expensive than the electric heat now available. Current residents will have the option of converting, Klar said.
The exteriors of the new buildings are being covered with wood-simulated vinyl, whereas existing units have real wood siding, more costly to maintain, Klar said.
For information about The Waterways call 516-874-2222.
Copyright 1998 Newsday, Inc. Reprinted with permission.