Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

At Legends Cove, a Fresh Commitment

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

At Legends Cove, a Fresh Commitment

Article excerpt

Builder withdraws from project, but rejoins after financial pledgeIt is not uncommon for home builders to be scrambling to finish models in time for the Parade of Homes. Landscaping, paint, appliances -- sometimes the subcontractor is walking out the back door as the judges and tour-goers are walking in the front door.But at Legends Cove at IMG Academies, in southwest Bradenton, the scenario was much more dramatic as the Saturday opening of the 2012 Parade of Homes approached.At one point, the developer of the 56- unit "coach home" enclave was on the verge of having to find a new builder. Then, at the last minute, there was a meeting of the minds, and some of those minds have very thick wallets.A local investment group called Hobar, a partner in the project, agreed to throw its financial weight fully behind construction of the units, according to developer Wayne Ruben. As a result, Gibraltar Homes, whose president on Wednesday decided to "amicably" withdraw from the project, recommitted on Thursday."We are onboard to continue with Gibraltar," said Ruben, of Ruben-Holland Development. "We are back on track with everything. The landowners are supportive in all ways."A day earlier, Gibraltar Homes President Albert Sanchez, who had enthusiastically shown the Herald-Tribune around the project in late January, said he could not make a go of it without such support."The single-family home market is back," he said Wednesday. "Multifamily is not."Gibraltar also is working to renegotiate the financing on three unsold units, including the model, in the first and only completed building, finished in 2008."I feel bad for Albert," said Ruben, "but this is a situation of the times. Those units were financed back in the days when you had much higher costs. So it is unfortunately part of that wash-through of product to pricing." The same units will sell for 40 percent less than they were priced in 2007, when the upper-floor plans were marketed at close to $800,000. Now they are at $499,000. Ground-floor units are now $399,000; sizes range from 2,000 to 2,700 square feet.The first coach homes, four to a building, on El Conquistador Parkway were built by Gibraltar in 2008, as the market was stalling. Not much has happened there since then.Now Gibraltar, Ruben-Holland and Hobar are expecting to benefit from the impending completion of El Conquistador, which now runs from 34th Street West to just a few hundred feet west of the Legends Cove entrance. Construction crews are making rapid progress on completing the missing link to the west.When "El Con" is complete, Legends Bay and Legends Cove (there is one so far) residents will have an easy shot to 75th Street, Cortez Road, the beaches and the amenities of west Bradenton, including Blake Hospital and nearby medical offices. This will bring Legends Cove and the adjacent Legends Bay enclave of upscale single- family homes, where Gibraltar is still building, within closer driving distance for medical professionals. …

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