Bankruptcy Court Ruling Could Brighten Future Of Diamond Towers
By Jaime Levy
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With 144 unsold condos remaining in the financially plagued Blue and Green Diamond towers, a bankruptcy court ruling Tuesday would allow New Florida Properties to quickly pay back brokers to whom it is indebted – a move that will make it easier for to sell the units.
Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol ruled Tuesday that the first $4 million generated from 48 pending closings would be used to pay $1.4 million in late brokerage fees and $2.6 million in detail-oriented construction by developer New Florida, which filed for bankruptcy Jan. 4.
The closings, some of which have been under contract for five years, are expected to generate about $9 million. Once the first $4 million is returned to New Florida to repay debts to brokers and for construction costs, the next $4 million in sales would go to Union Planters National Bank.
After that, New Florida would receive another $2 million to complete construction and pay operating costs.
"Everyone in the courtroom probably feels comfortable that there will be enough money to pay back everyone who’s owed money," said Ron Shuffield, president of Esslinger Wooten Maxwell, which last week became the buildings’ exclusive sales agent, replacing Fortune International Realty in what another EWM spokesman called "an amicable agreement" approved by the court.
Tom Lehman of the law firm Tew Cardenas et al., who represented New Florida, could not be reached Tuesday evening.
Although EWM has sold at least eight condos since opening a new sales office in early February, very few were sold in the past year due to the reputation the property was getting within the brokerage community as well as a lack of marketing funds, Mr. Shuffield said.
"There are many beautiful luxury condominium buildings along the beaches in Miami that brokers can choose from to sell to their clients," he said. "If there’s a building where they have concerns about being paid for their efforts, they’re not going to show that building."