Solaris at Brickell Bay – Deal or No Deal?

August 2, 2008 by Lucas Lechuga

Solaris at Brickell

There’s a one bedroom/one bath foreclosure at Solaris at Brickell Bay that is currently listed for $159,900.  The price of this 730 square foot condo was recently reduced 33 percent.  I showed the condo to a client this afternoon and found it to be in great condition.  The condo has real hard wood floors, stainless steel appliances and a bay view from the balcony.

Normally, I would say that this condo, with a list price that amounts to $219 per square foot, is a great deal.  However, there have been recent sales at Solaris at Brickell Bay that have me scratching my head.  These closed sales do not appear in the MLS.  Be prepared to be shocked!

  • Unit 706 – 1 bedroom/1 bath – sold for $28,000 in May 2008 ($37 per square foot)
  • Unit 803 – 2 bedroom/2 bath – sold for $10,000 in May 2008 ($9 per square foot)
  • Unit 1103 – 2 bedroom/2 bath – sold for $22,000 in April 2008 ($21 per square foot)

Each unit was sold to separate individuals.  Does anyone know the story behind these?  Were these once owned by the same bank who needed to liquidate their properties quickly?  I would think that they’d at least be able to get $125,000 for the one bedroom and $200,000 for the two bedrooms under normal circumstances.

Solaris at Brickell Bay was victimized by mortgage fraud which is now resulting in a high number of foreclosures.  There are risks associated with buying into a building that has a lot of foreclosures because of the likely unpaid monthly maintenance fees from these units.  There’s risk that a future special assessment could be billed to all condo owners if the association’s financial condition deteriorates as a result.  There’s also a risk that the condo building is not properly maintained.  Read the post entitled “Will History Repeat Itself in Miami?” to learn more about how bad things can get for a building who can’t pay its bills.

Nonetheless, with all risks considered, selling a condo for $9-$37 per square foot in Brickell seems crazy to me.  I know someone out there has the story behind these recently sold condos.  Please share with the rest of us.

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152 Comments on "Solaris at Brickell Bay – Deal or No Deal?"


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Anonymous
kevin
7 years 8 months ago

Solaris is going to be surrounded by skscrapers in a few years the day they built Villa Magna, but it is the middle of Brickell.

Anonymous
Another Fraud WIth A Twist
7 years 8 months ago
No one can sell at 9-37 dollars a square foot. My bet is that there is a side deal going on where someone is bringing lot’s of cash under the table. Sounds like someone is trying to laundry money ie. drug dealer or another bad apple. Just an opinion, any one else care to explain? Certainly at auction it would bring more. I have been told that 1 out of 5 transactions in Panama City are drug related with drug dealers trying to clean drug money with condo deals. I have also heard the heat is on them, so maybe… Read more »
Anonymous
nervious buyer
7 years 8 months ago

Hey Lucas,

That was quite a good discovery of yours. I think your on to something. Keep up the good work exposing fraudsters. If it was not for your good detective work, no one would have noticed this.

Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago

nervious buyer,

I can’t take the credit for this. Someone emailed me about these transactions to bring them to my attention.

Anonymous
Tara
7 years 8 months ago

It was my “discovery”, not Lucas’. He just posted my info. I was interested in the unit at the Solaris and did my due diligence. The public records are out there, people…use them before you invest!

Anonymous
Tara
7 years 8 months ago

Lucas does great work with this blog…everyone should help keep it going, and email him with any info. you find. Grassroots efforts to expose the fraud!

Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago
Another Fraud With A Twist, Drug money in Miami? That just can’t be! Seriously though, you are somewhat correct. About 8 months ago, I spoke with a Miami police officer who did reveal to me that much of the mortgage fraud in Miami was a result of drug money being laundered. When the market was hot, drug dealers would buy a condo that could require some work, pour $50,000-$100,000 into it and get back around 90-100 percent of it once they sold. They could then report to the government that they obtained the money as a result of the sale… Read more »
Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago

maybe cuba will open up in time to fill up these condos.

Anonymous
Steve
7 years 8 months ago

Here’s the scoop on these sales:

All 3 sales have been sold with quit quit claim deeds and thus are not arm’s length transactions. The units were purchased by straw buyers at fraudulent prices in 2006 and 2007. Whomever is involved in the fraud, transfer the unit to other individuals (other straw buyers). The mortgages on these units will most definitely go into default.

Anonymous
Pelide
7 years 8 months ago
Hi everyone, after reading several post and suggestions, (ACE – PEREZ – SBKI, among others) I came to the conclusion that I would better “walk away” rather than closing. Losing 75% of my deposit was painful, but I got back promptly the remaining 25% as stated in the contract, without having to take any further action with letters, lawyers, etc. At least, this developer was correct for that matter! I was happy to hear lawyers ready to take my case on a “contingency” and boldly stating that they would be able to recover most of my deposit, without ever mentioning… Read more »
Anonymous
Once Agian
7 years 8 months ago

Pelide,

Which place did u walk from?

Anonymous
Once Agian
7 years 8 months ago

So what’s the verdict on Solaris other than we can anticipate problems most likely due to the unpaid HOA fees from the fraud units.

I mean is the building or units atleast decent. are the ammenities realatively good?

Anonymous
Un-Related
7 years 8 months ago
Once Again asked Pelide: “Which place did u walk from?” We know it was not from one of the “places” erected by the “Donald Trump of the Tropics”. With Related, the mantra is: 1. No investor is ever in “default”! 2. Clock will not start on 21-day “default” period! 3. You will NEVER get your 25% back without suing! 4. If you sue, we will label you are a “whiney-ass loser” and your lawyer as an”an ambulance chaser”! 5. So, “close on your condo” or wait until some judge takes one look at your suit for the 25% and awards… Read more »
Anonymous
perez
7 years 8 months ago
The answer to these mysterious sales is easy. They all did it the WaMu Way! and perhaps with the help of a certain attorney on West Avenue. In all three WaMu loaned way too much, and their mortgage will now attach to these Quit Claim “buyers”, who will likely not pay a dime to WaMu. read Solaris values to drop due to nonpayment of Maint fees, and future foreclosures. All 3 sellers acquired the properties at very high prices in 12/07 from different women, Wamu loaned $566K, $810K, and $420K, for units the County appraises at $227K, $319K, and $325K.… Read more »
Anonymous
jcrimes
7 years 8 months ago

lucas
i’m not sure buying real estate is an effective manner to launder cash. rather, laundering works best when you have a high turnover cash business.

Anonymous
Un-Related
7 years 8 months ago

perez asked: “The Quit Claim Deeds were all represented as being prepared by a very green attorney working out of 1200 West Avenue. Might this rookie attorney merely fallen prey to the charms or windfall profits of these enterprising women?”

The Flamingo porn shoots are at 1504 Bay Road! 1200 West is the Mirador. LOL

Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago
“The Quit Claim Deeds were all represented as being prepared by a very green attorney working out of 1200 West Avenue. Might this rookie attorney merely fallen prey to the charms or windfall profits of these enterprising women? ” So basically the mortgages are getting passed off to another set of straw buyers? Legally, what might be shady about this transaction that the lawyer could be getting duped on? Do the 2nd set of buyers think they are getting a clear title? It’s not clear what is going on here. The fraud was in the original mortgage and first set… Read more »
Anonymous
MORON
7 years 8 months ago

DAVID…yes, cuba will open up to buy all the $400K Maimi condo!!! Remember, they make $2 per hour. MORON

Anonymous
MORON
7 years 8 months ago

Laudering Money 101.

1. Buy at a reasonable price

2. sell at an outrageous price

3. Claim the GAIN on the original purchase and pay taxes on it.

4. It’s clean!!!

Sincerely, Tony Soprano

Anonymous
AJ
7 years 8 months ago

Samir,
You said in a previous post
“The city I believe will begin reconstruction of Biscayne Blvd between Marquis and 36th street soon. It was budgeted for years ago and should be next on the schedule.”
Do you know what has been budgeted and what are the plans for the stretch between 13th street and 36th street?

Anonymous
Montana Investments
7 years 8 months ago

Not happy with all da talk about condo frauds and shysters. I gots investments to look after. Say hello to my little friend you cockaroaches. College boy thinks he is so smart.
Tony

Anonymous
AJ
7 years 8 months ago

La La and DLJ,
Here is the first glimpse of the Architectonica’s renedering of the City Sq/Walmart project, posted by Michael Vasquez of Miami Herald. Scroll down to see the post and the pic
http://www.miamiurbanlife.com/forum/topic/show?id=1256554%3ATopic%3A93276&page=1

Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago
Hopefully Architectonica will tone down the fruity colors… It looks like this complex might physically dwarf the Performing arts center so adding in the bold colors might be a little too much. But on further reflection… You have a ghetto area with the out of place Performing Arts Center patroned by illiterates wearing Zegna next to a massive fruity tooty shopping area with modern high rise condominiums looming in the background… for Miami, this kind of makes sense. All that’s missing from the picture is an HIV clinic engaging in Medicare fraud to round out the picture. BTW, what are… Read more »
Anonymous
DLJ
7 years 8 months ago
Thanks AJ, It just kind of illustrates the monstrosity that I have been taking about… its worse than I thought. I do feel however that the word is getting out and opposition to this project is growing by leaps and bounds. I can tell you that they will face a huge battle getting this thing built. Again, I am not against wallmart and I do think that there should be a place for it downtown… just not in that one spot… As a community those that care about this city can come together and really do something about it. I… Read more »
Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago

“There’s also a risk that the condo building is not properly maintained. Read the post entitled “Will History Repeat Itself in Miami?” to learn more about how bad things can get for a building who can’t pay its bills.”

When the bank takes back a unit in foreclosure, they become the legal owner – so then why are they not required to pay maintenance to the HOA/Condo Board just like any other unit owner?

How are the banks getting around that?

Anonymous
la la
7 years 8 months ago
AJ, Overall- yuck. I don’t care for the design at all. It’s only redeeming quality is that there is not an ocean of parking around it like a typical Sprawlmart. Otherwise, yuck. And I must agree with all those who say that it is not the best location. I read some article questioning how they are going to get all the cargo trucks that bring the merchandise to the site and handle that traffic/loading/service issues. That’s a bigger problem than all the traffic caused by people coming to shop there. I agree that there should be a Sprawlmart in the… Read more »
Anonymous
BFG
7 years 8 months ago

Just a general condo-market relevant bit of news:

WCI Communities filed for Ch 11 bankruptcy today. Stock at 66 cents right now (down about 97% from last year).

Anonymous
One Bal Harbour Sightings
7 years 8 months ago
How does the WCI bankrupcy effect One Bal Harbour? I heard Regent left it’s much talked about Boston project last month. I guess Regent has an out now if they chose to leave and start from scratch with better possibilies. Seems like Lucas had this one pegged right on his project months ago, that it was doomed for failure along with WCI. Never liked that shared road entrance being shared with a middle of the road development ie. Harbour House. I know your blog on One Bal Harbour was followed closely on your blog, how about doing a link so… Read more »
Anonymous
AJ
7 years 8 months ago
La La, I keep wondering, why can’t the Walmart join the bdb’s project “Bayview Shops” two blocks west of the opera house. It is 7.35 acres of land, larger than the city sq. parcels, Lowes is already on board. That would be a better location for Walmart. DLJ, I am doing our committee’s meeting on Wed Sept 10th at the 1800 Club at 7 pm. If you like, I can extend an invitation for you as an observer. I am also planning to unveil my plans to start a Pace Park Residents Association on that Day. I am planning to… Read more »
Anonymous
lara
7 years 8 months ago

Tara,

What websites did you use in order to get to the public records on condos. Thank you.

Anonymous
Sounds good to me
7 years 8 months ago

Those prices seem to reflect the future values of these units. In Detroit these units would sell for half of those prices.

Anonymous
Once Agian
7 years 8 months ago
So here a Brickell question…what seems to be up with Capital on Brickell? I used to see workers and a trailer on the construction site. Seems prob for the last month I have seen no activity on thsi site and the trailer missing. I passed by today and it was a ghost town not even 1 worker. Could this be the end of Capital on Brickell and we are now left with a big hole? Also considering that there’s prob gonna be alot of defaults in Everglades and the fact that the Cabi head died is this the beggining of… Read more »
Anonymous
CA
7 years 8 months ago

Pelide , I have the samw question as Un-Related for you ..Which condo did u walk away from? I am curious. Marina Blue will not give you 25% back and I have not heard of any developer who has done it..They are forcing you to sue to get your 25% stated in the contract !!!!

Anonymous
lara
7 years 8 months ago

CA this is absolutly not true. Developers give you your 25% of deposit back if it is in the contract. You do not have to sue them It might take them some time. May be 1 month or 2 but they give you back.

Anonymous
7 years 8 months ago
Interesting Bearish argument from Meredith Whitney. “Housing prices will fall more than 30 percent before the market recovers and banks will continue their reluctance to lend until the credit crisis clears up, Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney said on CNBC….” http://www.cnbc.com/id/26007215 http://www.cnbc.com/id/15840232/site/14081545/?video=812131553&play=1 She makes a simple argument. Banks aren’t making loans and they won’t be making loans for quite a while and when they do, you’ll need 20% down and a real job. Now think about that. Look at all the condos that were bought in Miami in the past 5 years… how many do you think were bought with at… Read more »
Anonymous
jcrimes
7 years 8 months ago

Judge Seitz just stuck it to a bunch of contract holders at Opera Tower. Simple ruling. Outside of your contract stating you get some money back if you don’t close, it looks like the courts are shutting down the ILSA and FFAS arguments. If you’re a plaintiff’s lawyer, I’d drop the ILSA count and stay in state court on the rest.

Anonymous
Un-Related
7 years 8 months ago
lara, You are the one who is incorrect. Several developers, including Related, do NOT declare “you” in default even though you “defaulted” months in the past. By declaring you “in default” a 20-day “grace period starts. If the “default” is cured before the expiration of the grace period, then the escrow is broken and any deposits in excess of 15% are returned to investor. (If your deposit was 20%, half of it is in escrow, so you are entitled to one-half of the 10%, or 25 % of the original 20%.. I believe the developer keeps the accrued interest.) So,… Read more »
Anonymous
Tara
7 years 8 months ago
Lara – the property appraiser’s website (http://www.miamidade.gov/pa/property_search.asp) is always a good place to start. This will tell you when the property was last sold, the sale price, and the market/taxable values. You should also check the county recorder’s office (http://www.miami-dadeclerk.com/public-records/default.asp) to see the deeds and any liens on the property. Another good site, though not a “public record”, is zillow.com. This allows you to pull up properties by address, and you can click on the link called “recent sales” to pull up the recent sales in the bldg. That was how I stumbled on the gems in this post. Just… Read more »
Anonymous
Tara
7 years 8 months ago

Oh, one other one – if the property is owned by a company, check out http://www.sunbiz.org to identify the members/managers of the company.

Anonymous
gables
7 years 8 months ago

so the most recent bulk sale at 50 Biscayne sold on average around $250k per unit. interesting, would certainly like to know what the price per square foot for the sale was. can related buy out the rest of their buildings in the same manner, or will they let individual buyers in at that price level as well?

Anonymous
Pelide
7 years 8 months ago
CA it seems that LARA is correct. If it is stated in the contract, I do not see any reason to sue. I believe that lawyers are scaring people and make them believe that to be sure to get back even that 25% they must sue first. Perhaps lawyers would spot something wrong in the contract, but they have first to explain/convince why and how they think to win. Then I’ll decide. I’ll never agree blindly for “contingencies” based on whatever amount they recover knowing that I have very good chances of getting back my 25% without litigation. I think… Read more »
Anonymous
umer ahmad
7 years 8 months ago

I just heard about a bank owned 1 bedroom @ the flamingo with resort pool and bay view (south tower) available for $200,000

Could i please get an opinion from all of you out there about this property and value?

I am interested in a vacation place in southbeach that might be able togenerate some revenue to help contribute in its carying cost.

Anonymous
Ray
7 years 8 months ago

question about “vue” in Brickell at 1250 south miami avenue. Why the prices are so low? Is there a major problem in the building?

Anonymous
Un-Related
7 years 8 months ago
Pelide, ONE MORE TIME: It depends on the developer and his attitude concerning people who can’t close. MOST developers like the one you were lucky to be dealing with return the 25% without any obfuscation. I know of a couple who did so BEFORE the investor’s scheduled closing. I am not advocating hiring “contingency” lawyers to sue, however, you have to realize that people who are losing $50,000 or more (the 75%) have an absolute right to become EXTREMELY dissatisfied with some billion-dollar operation whose response to the question: “May I have my 25% returned as per the Contract?”, get… Read more »
Anonymous
Wild Bill
7 years 8 months ago

Buying multiple units in buildings is a recipe for disaster. Almost as smart as putting all you money into IndyMac Bank. I would be pissed if I owned in a bulk bought condominium. You could have an instant financial collapse if the fund went belly up. What would happen if a building had a hundred delinquent maintenance fees?

Anonymous
Un-Related
7 years 8 months ago

Wild Bill,

GREAT POINT! That is a classic example of “the trees” that blind buyers from seeing “the forest” behind them!

Anonymous
probably too cynical
7 years 8 months ago

Ray,

the Vue is a disaster. a close friend of mine (who was renting) just recently moved out and couldn’t get out quickly enough. 30% are not paying HOA, services are declining, building has squatters, etc. and the building is now surrounded with several new towers so the views are likely gone, too–

Anonymous
Generalmagic
7 years 8 months ago
Umer, that Flamingo unit may be a good deal on paper. I would be careful. 1) That building was sold at the top of the market. How many other units will drag the price down even furher. 2) You need to find out the finacials of the building. How many people are behind on their monthly dues. Very important. You might be able to ask the management company. 3) Only the south tower is a condo. Do you really want to live in a rental community where the majority could care less about the up keep of the land. Just… Read more »
Anonymous
Un-Related
7 years 8 months ago

Generalmagic asked: “Do you really want to live in a rental community where the majority could care less about the up keep of the land? ”

I lived there in the “blue” tower for two years. AIMCO spent a fortune in maintainence on those grounds. The well-know “fraternity house” atmosphere was pretty much contained to the old North and South buildings.

Anonymous
Short Seller
7 years 8 months ago

DON’T WORRY………THE DEAL’S HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED TO COME FORWARD YET.ANYONE THAT BUY’S NOW……..WILL BE PAYING WAY TOO MUCH.WAIT WAIT WAIT.

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