Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Liens-Liens-Liens

From Oregon Business Magazine:

The steep hillside overlooking the Willamette River is a Portland residential community without residents. On one side of Seymour Court, all of the newly built homes are either for sale or for rent. On the other side of the street, seven townhouses and eight condominiums stand not quite finished, an ambitious project swamped by construction liens.

This condo project is Sophie's View. If you drive I-5 north it is the one off of Corbett Ave.
It’s an increasingly common scene in once-hot real estate markets from Eugene to Portland to Bend. Construction liens have doubled in Multnomah County and tripled in Washington County, and while other major metro counties throughout Oregon do not track those pleas for payment specifically, the anecdotal evidence suggests that the love affair between banks, developers, builders, suppliers and subcontractors is officially over.
And then there is the granddaddy of all Oregon construction liens: the $15.8 million owed to Hoffman Construction by the developers of Portland’s 194-condo Waterfront Pearl. Hoffman vice president Bart Eberwein says it is by far the largest lien the company has filed. If the bill is not paid, Hoffman could end up owning the entire development. “We try to avoid situations like this,” says Eberwein, “because the whole thing just trickles down and people get hurt.” Hoffman is also ensnared in another
high-profile project being torpedoed by liens, The Nines hotel above Macy’s in downtown Portland. Two subcontractors filed liens for a combined $6.5 million just days after invitations went out to the high-priced hotel’s grand opening in late October.


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