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Upscale condos headed for auction

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A creative marketing campaign centered on a voluntary auction with steeply discounted starting bids has been launched to generate interest in a small townhouse project at 1900 Central SW, between Downtown and Old Town.

The remaining nine units in the Agave Condominiums at 1900 Central SW, which opened in 2006, are scheduled to be auctioned off on Oct. 24. (Courtesy of Kennedy Wilson Auction Group)

The remaining nine units in the Agave Condominiums at 1900 Central SW, which opened in 2006, are scheduled to be auctioned off on Oct. 24. (Courtesy of Kennedy Wilson Auction Group)

“This is not a bank-owned property or a foreclosure sale,” said Larry Ilfeld of Sperry Van Ness/Walt Arnold Commercial Brokerage. “This is the owners trying to get some action.”

The 11-unit, two- and three-story Agave Condos, built on land sold by Albuquerque Little Theatre, hit the market in 2006 at prices ranging from about $375,000 to $450,000. None of the units sold and, after the housing market crashed, all were switched to rentals.

The entire property sold in 2012 to the current owner, a limited liability company associated with Granite Investment Group of Irvine, Calif. Already an upscale property – eight units have elevators – the new owner made more improvements and returned the units to for-sale condos.

Two sold.

The auction of the remaining nine, scheduled for 1 p.m. Oct. 24 at the Hyatt Regency in Downtown, is a way to dangle a pair of incentives for prospective buyers:

• The starting bids are running at 44 percent to 54 percent of the previous list prices, which were already marked down from the 2006 level. For example, the starting bid is $150,000 for a 1,850-square-foot unit previously listed at $319,900.

• The first three units to be auctioned will be sold to registered bidders if their high bids are equal to or greater than the published starting bids. High bids on the remaining six units must meet undisclosed minimum thresholds to be accepted.

Real estate auctions are usually associated with distressed properties. In Agave’s case, the auction strategy is a reflection of the comparatively slow rebound in Albuquerque’s housing market, Granite CEO Carey Levy told the Journal .

“It’s unfair to paint a picture that this isn’t a viable property,” he said. “This is a very viable property. We think it’s a great location in an area that’s growing.”

Agave Condominiums, as it’s now called, is next door to Vinaigrette restaurant, and not much farther than a stone’s throw from the Aveda Institute and the ongoing development of Country Club Plaza. All three are redevelopment projects spearheaded by Jay Rembe.

The Agave auction will be conducted by Kennedy Wilson Auction Group of Beverly Hills, Calif., with Sperry Van Ness as its local liaison. For more information on the property and auction, go to agavecondominiums.com.

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