Saturday, June 02, 2007

Beach Condos That Are Still Hot

I found this article about some particular beach condos in Maryland that are still selling great and making waves. Just goes to show how real estate trends are not iron-clad, and a good project will sell, regardless of the market.

Oddly, I found a big ZERO on Google about these condos, except for rental info and various realtors blurbs. Either they've made a website that can't be found in the search engines, or haven't made one at all. They would probably have sold out if they had invested in that small area of advertising...

Island's massive condo complex is taking shape
Originally published June 2, 2007- Delmarva Daily Times

CHINCOTEAGUE -- There is something about an empty pool of glimmering turquoise on a hot and cloudless day that demands unforgiving restraint in the workaday world.

But this new blue pool, and the colorful condominiums that embrace it just over the bridge to the island here, shamelessly invite lazy summer days of hedonistic overindulgence.

Don't confuse the empty pool and parking lot with a notion that the new Sunset Bay condos aren't selling. In a good real-estate market, they'd rank as hotcakes.

But in a housing market that continues to report downturns across the country and locally, 31 of these waterfront, two-bedroom, two-bath units have sold -- actually closed -- since March 15.

In all, more than 40 of the 72 units, some still under construction, are under contract.
"It's very difficult to sell a product before you actually have it on the market," said Todd Burbage, who helps run the family business, Blue Water Development of West Ocean City, Md., with his father and founder, Jack Burbage, and brother, John.

Original plans called for 105 units in three phases, but the developers, who have partnered on this project with Freddie Obrecht of Obrecht-Phoenix in Hunt Valley, Md., aren't ready to say what comes after Phase 2.

They have focused on the first two sections since announcing the plans at a swank cocktail reception at Chincoteague Inn last April.

Plans for phase 3, on the restaurant site, are still on the drawing board, Burbage said this week.
The three-story buildings, which are easily seen rising from the waterfront to the south of the Chincoteague causeway while traveling to the island, evoke a sense of a close-knit row house or townhome community.

Varied architectural features add interest, while the range of colors suggests attached homes.
From bright coral, to sage green, butter, sand and grays in both misty and stormy shades, the evocative design features varied oversized doors and windows -- both casement and double-hung -- and standing seam rooftops alongside architectural shingle.

A buttery yellow section is topped in silver metal roofing with a row of dormers, easily suggesting an historic sea captain's home in a southeastern harbor town.

"We came down here and we loved the area and the flow of the buildings," Burbage said. "So we tried to include those architectural features into the buildings, so they didn't stick out like a sore thumb."

He points to a yellow shingle house adjacent to the condo entrance, calling it a "quintessential Chincoteague house," and noting the similarities. "It is supposed to flow together and be a part of the community, not separate," he said.

The place was built to last, too.
The plastic sheeting over the bulkheading carries a 50-year warranty. The marina was built by BIC, Inc., a local firm.

Jack Tarr did the electrical work and Thornton Services Inc. did the heating, ventilation and air conditioning. "I estimate that on any given day there can be up to 100 different people on the job," Burbage said. "We try to use as many local contractors and subs as we can."

The exterior siding -- some scalloped and some clapboard, common to Victorian vernacular Shore homes -- is James Hardie plank cement board. It, too, is a maintenance-free and long-lasting material that also gave the developers maximum flexibility with color.

Burbage pointed out the size of the elevator -- all of the units have exterior access only -- and its tile floors and mahogany walls. It's tall and oversized for homeowners who have never before experienced condo living and are intent on bringing their supersized furniture. It's a thoughtful touch.

The corners and trim of all the exterior walls are clad in long-lasting Azek, a composite that never rots, in bright white.

All the stairs and exterior details are also in bright white, imparting a lighthearted vacation appeal.

The decking around the pool and throughout is another rot-free composite material called Oasis and has been laid out in a series of diamond and diagonal patterns incorporating both a redwood color and a weathered gray.

The color is injected. "It never fades. It will outlast us," Burbage said. "It would be boring without it as a design element. It costs more, but it's worth it."

The concept is to offer everything low-maintenance, he said, so retirees and other homeowners don't have to do anything except enjoy the lifestyle.

Inside, each unit features a master bedroom with his-and-her closets and master bath, a second bedroom and hall bath, kitchen, dining area and living room, den and utility room. Each condo also includes an exterior locked storage area for beach and fishing gear.

Though similar in the basics, each unit comes with a long list of options and ranges in size from 1,650 to about 2,100 square feet. There are 12 different floor plans to choose from and prices go from $439,900 to $599,900.

Third floor units feature vaulted ceilings, and the rest of the ceilings on all floors are nine feet high. Every master bedroom includes a deck or patio with water views and oversized windows and doors, along with tray ceilings to further distinguish the space.

Master baths have separate whirlpool tubs, tiled, glass-enclosed showers and double vanities. As always, there's a host of choices in finishes.

Buyers can choose from cultured marble and granite countertops in the bath, among a host of other options for flooring, carpeting, fixtures, cabinets, hardware, appliances and other details throughout.

Kitchens open to the dining area and living room and incorporate the views through walls of glass. Most feature granite countertops, high-end cabinetry and a choice of appliances in white, black or stainless steel.

Back outside, a deck wraps around the entire complex. Residents can enjoy walking around the whole perimeter, taking in the pool, hot tub, waterfront, marina and condos. A covered promenade will connect the two housing sections and provide access from the parking area to the marina.

"The marina brings the community together," Burbage said. "It's a place to congregate and just be neighbors, the way it used to be. The way Chincoteague is. Everyone owns the water."

The sea of parking, though nicely landscaped like the rest of the property with a mix of crape myrtle, juniper, arborvitae, potted palms and other plantings, remains an expanse with almost 300 spaces.

That's because the island has some strange and possibly antiquated parking rules that translate to up to five spaces coming with each unit.

Chincoteague requires 1.2 parking spaces per bedroom. Rounding up, that requires three per unit. Add the den as a bedroom and it goes to four. A slip for the boat also requires an extra space.

Burbage would prefer to have some wiggle room on the parking area. "If it were a perfect scenario, we'd like to spend the money to tear out the asphalt and landscape and -- owners have told us they'd like a pet area," he said. "It would be an enhancement to the community, not just Sunset Bay, but to the Chincoteague community."

He said they'd also like to be able to convert part of the oversized parking space to a barbecue area because grills are not allowed on patios or balconies. It's easy to see how a community picnic and grill area could contribute to the inherent neighborliness of the place.

Back at the pool a quiet Jacuzzi's waterfall sits outside a gym area with mirrored walls. They reflect the pool, ringed in blue tiles and bright blue and white mesh covers atop lounge chairs waiting for occupants.

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