The granite is polished, the pool is filled, the outdoor kitchen is stocked, and the lobby still “looks like a four-star hotel.”
Now, all that is missing are people to live here.
The handful of residents at the Bella Sera at the Preserve complex are hoping that soon will start changing as an area bank works to take over the multimillion dollar condominium development along Bob Billings Parkway near Wakarusa Drive.
M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank is in the process of foreclosing on the property after the development group that built the project back in 2006 has fallen behind on its payments. The sheriff’s sale for the property will be at 10 a.m. today at the Judicial and Law Enforcement Center, 111 E. 11th St.
“The neighbors who are here are anxious to get more neighbors,” said Tammy Steeples, who lives at the development.
Steeples estimates that only 13 of the approximately 50 condominium units are occupied. According to court documents, the development has struggled financially. The project received a $16.28 million loan in 2006, but the loan went into default as the development group fell behind on the payments. About $13.45 million remains unpaid on the loan, according to court records.
She said the development is extremely nice. It includes a swimming pool, a huge patio, an outdoor kitchen, a media room for up to 20 people, a bar area and a lobby that “looks like a four-star hotel.”
But she said the development group — which was lead by Lawrence businessman Jes Santaularia — got the project started at the wrong time. The real estate bubble burst, and home and condo sales dried up.
Steeples said since word of the foreclosure began to circulate a few weeks ago, several community members have been asking whether there would be a buying opportunity at the development.
“We’re hoping that this will really allow them to start selling again,” Steeples said. “Maybe there will be some bargains out here for awhile.”
The sale includes about 38 unfinished condo units, plus a vacant lot that is adjacent to the property. It wasn’t immediately clear whether today’s auction would sell the condo units individually or whether all the property would be sold in bulk. A spokeswoman with the Sheriff’s Department did not know, and the attorney handling the foreclosure for the bank was unavailable for comment. But the legal filings suggested the property would be sold in bulk.
That makes it unlikely that many individuals will be bidders. The minimum bid for the property will be the $13.45 million owed on the loan, and the state’s foreclosure laws require the winning bidder to submit a cashier’s check for the full amount shortly after the auction has concluded.