Business

Bank buys condos for $5 million

With no other bidders in sight, Central Bank & Trust Co. bought The Mark Lofts at Woodland Park for $5 million during a court-ordered sale on Monday.

The bank's chief executive officer, Luther Deaton Jr., said Central plans to sell the failed condominium project as a whole or unit by unit, but that nothing would be done that would harm property values in the adjacent residential neighborhoods.

"We live here, and we work here and we'll take care of it," Deaton said.

The auction resulted from a foreclosure action Central filed in September against Tribecca Development Co., the project's developer.

Tribecca had halted construction in July at East High Street and Woodland Avenue, citing "the downturn in the economy and the depressed real estate and lending markets."

The bank said Tribecca had defaulted on $8.2 million in loans and Visa card payments.

The developer later agreed to give the bank possession of the building, which was about 80 percent completed.

None of the 36 units had been sold, because Realtors said it was unclear when buyers could move into the units.

John Michler, president of the Aylesford Place Neighborhood Association, said previously that the association feared that The Mark would become an apartment building and that property values would suffer.

"Our fear would be that someone would get it on the cheap and finish it up on the cheap," and set low rents for units that were intended to be "upscale housing," Michler told a reporter.

Deaton said Central would work with the association to make sure it is satisfied with the bank's plans.

The Mark's units originally were expected to sell for $227,000 to $540,000 each to a target market of young professionals, including faculty at the nearby University of Kentucky.

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