After years of financial troubles, a west Lawrence condominium development has a new set of owners who are promising a reversal of fortunes for the development.
A Wichita investment group, which includes a top executive of Koch Industries, has purchased the remaining vacant units at the Bella Sera at the Preserve condominium development at Bob Billings Parkway and Inverness Drive.
Jason Todd, a real estate agent for Lawrence Realty Executives Hedges Real Estate, said his clients have purchased the property, which previously was foreclosed on, and are bringing down the selling prices on the luxury development.
“When the project originally went to market, I believe there was only one unit that was under $400,000,” Todd said. “Now, all but six of them are under $400,000.”
Todd said some units — they range in size from 1,300 to 4,200 square feet — are starting at $225,000.
The Wichita group, Bella Sera LLC, purchased all 24 of the vacant units that were left in the 37-unit development. Todd said that already two of the units are under contract.
A group led by Lawrence businessman Jes Santaularia built the project in 2006. But the project struggled to sell its maintenance-free condo units, and the developers defaulted on a $16 million loan. M&I Marshall & Ilsley Bank foreclosed on the property in August.
Todd said the building itself wouldn’t change much under the new owners. The property will continue to offer a pool, an outdoor cooking area, a fitness room, a lobby bar and kitchen area, a library, and a movie-theaterlike media room for condo owners and their guests.
The new owners also purchased the ground floor commercial space in the building, which includes about 12 office spaces and an area that is designed to house a private spa, said Amy Sanchez, the property manager for Block Real Estate Services. The ownership group also purchased approximately five acres of vacant property to the east of the condo building. Sanchez said the group hasn’t yet developed any plans for that property.
Todd said the new ownership group is made up of a mix of people who have various interests in Lawrence. Todd said the group does include some members of Koch Industries, the giant Wichita conglomerate.
“They have all been really nice to work with and have a lot of knowledge about the project,” Todd said. “They all have interest and ties to Lawrence.”
The corporate paperwork on file with the state for Bella Sera LLC lists Steven Feilmeier, the chief financial officer for Koch Industries, as the main point of contact for the new ownership group.