Real Estate: Condos for Rent

Move-in special: Short on sales, condo developers switch to rentals

Rather than fight an uphill battle, some developers burdened with
surplus inventory in a disastrous housing market are converting condos
into luxury apartments.

“At one point, we had almost 70 percent of [our] building under
contract,” says Valerie Edwards, president of Integral Development
Company LLC, which is affiliated with the developer of Renaissance Walk
condos. “But as the time approached for closing on the units, the
prospective owners started canceling contracts. We were far from
breaking even on the operating expenses and maintenance for the condos.
Renting units was a way for us to defray costs by generating income on
unsold units.”

Compared to a traditional apartment, condos typically offer more square
footage and nicer amenities, in addition to a heftier monthly outlay.
“They are generally just above market rate, and that is due to the
superior construction and quality finishes not found in most
apartments,” says Tabb Neblett, assistant development manager of Urban
Realty Partners, the firm behind Oakland Park, a condo development that
signs both deeds and leases. These days, luxury condos come standard
with hardwood floors, granite countertops, expansive windows, skyline
views, fitness centers, gated security, and twenty-four-hour concierge
services. Often there are rooftop pools and tennis courts, first-floor
retail shops, and richly appointed clubrooms.

Another advantage, says Michelle Mashburn, property manager of Mezzo, a
nineteen-story condo tower between Midtown and Buckhead, is that renters
get to taste high-rise living and see if it suits their lifestyles.
Condos also tend to be more private than apartment complexes, which
typically house many more units, says Patrick Kassin, marketing manager
of Tivoli Properties, the developer behind Mezzo.

Why not just slash asking prices? “We have a fixed construction loan
that must be paid back,” says Edwards, “and we will be unable to do this
if we drastically reduce prices.” Renting also increases the occupancy
rate and ensures a high-end clientele, says Mashburn. Plus, “current
homeowners understand that this is in the best long-term interest of
their investments,” adds Neblett. Nonetheless, when the economy gains
ground, these three condo developments will go back to sales only.


2171 Peachtree Road, 404-351-8860,
SIZE: 1–3 bedrooms; 1,155–2,300 square feet
MONTHLY RENT: Averages $2,332 for 1 BR
LEASE PURCHASE OPTION: No; however, renter gets first option to buy
SELLING PRICE: Mid-$300s to $2 million
WALK-THRU: Viking appliances, Kohler sinks and tubs, eucalyptus steam
room, sauna, massage room, indoor “pet respite” with grooming
facilities, street-front restaurant


563 Memorial Drive, 404-688-0300,
SIZE: 1–2 bedrooms; 688–1,424 square feet
MONTHLY RENT: Averages $950 for 1 BR
SELLING PRICE: $133,900 to $399,900
WALK-THRU: Rooftop deck, LEED certification, bamboo floors, Energy Star
appliances, dual-flush toilets, low-VOC paint


171 Auburn Avenue, 404-521-3008,
SIZE: 1–2 bedrooms; 744–1,070 square feet
MONTHLY RENT: Averages $900 for 1 BR
LEASE PURCHASE OPTION: Yes; four available
SELLING PRICE: Average $267,000
WALK-THRU: Stainless steel appliances, rooftop tennis court, pool,
street-front retail