Luxe condos were pitched for this Midtown site. Now it’s been foreclosed

Site for the proposed Opus Place tower near the Woodruff Arts Center was returned to its lender
This is a 2018 rendering of the planned Opus Place residential tower in Midtown that was never delivered.

Credit: City Haus

Credit: City Haus

This is a 2018 rendering of the planned Opus Place residential tower in Midtown that was never delivered.

A developer who envisioned the Opus Place skyscraper condominium complex in Midtown lost the site to foreclosure Tuesday after the long-stalled project failed to gain traction.

New York-based Olympia Heights Management LLC pursued multiple development plans for 98 14th Street near the Woodruff Arts Center over the past nine years, but none of the skyline-changing developments came to fruition. The site was advertised for foreclosure last month after the developer defaulted on its $40 million loan.

Real estate lender Benmark took back the property after it placed a credit bid worth the value of the original loan. A credit bid is essentially the foreclosing entity’s interest in the property, not cash.

Attempts to contact officials with Olympia Heights and Benmark were not returned.

Olympia Heights purchased land from Woodruff Arts Center in 2014 to propose a three-skyscraper complex featuring residences, a hotel and retail along 14th street across from the Four Seasons Hotel. In the years that followed, the project plans were downscaled and delayed.

In 2016, plans shifted to a two-tower development, including a 74-story condo building, with retail and a restaurant plaza. Roni Avraham, who was Olympia Height’s director of development at the time, said the firm had a mix of Israeli and American investor equity in place and was working to obtain financing.

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By 2018, a website for the Opus Place development said the project at 98 14th St. would be Midtown’s tallest residential tower at 53 stories. A real estate development firm said that year that the 257-unit building was more than 20% sold. The condo units were listed with floor plans ranging from 625 square feet to 4,000 square feet, at prices ranging from the mid-$400,000s to penthouse homes at $12 million, the AJC reported at the time.

But in 2020, as the luxury brokerage company Berkshire Hathaway was pre-selling condos in the tower, the developer was reportedly looking to sell 2.2 acres of the site.

The Federal Reserve’s efforts to tame inflation by hiking interest rates have wreaked havoc on the commercial real estate market. Rising rates and a post-pandemic purging of office space by many companies has led to a glut of available space and put pressure on landlords with mortgages coming due.

While financing new residential projects has also posed a challenge recently, Opus Place failed to gain traction well before the Fed’s inflation-fighting campaign. Midtown has also experienced a development boom over the past decade with several high-rise towers contributing to the city’s skyline.

Buildings within another large urban project — Newport’s South Downtown — were also slated for foreclosure Tuesday. However, the public auction for the 18 properties was postponed and likely won’t take place until early next year, according to that project’s lender.

— Staff writer Kelly Yamanouchi contributed to this report.

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