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The Harbor Towers Nightmare

11/23/2007 08:49:00 PM
I've been very anxious to see how this debacle turns out. For those of you that haven't heard about it, there's been some issues with the Harbor Towers on the Waterfront. First off, a little history.

The Harbor Towers apartment complex was completed in 1971 by the Berenson Corporation, as an affordable housing option near Boston's financial district. Designed by I.M. Pei, in conjunction with a local Boston architect, who also collaborated with Pei on the design of Boston's City Hall, the towers are well known in the architectural community. At 40 stories, they are the city's tallest residential towers (here).

The most recent news is that the Harbor Towers needs renovations and they're passing the cost on to the condo owners - $75 million dollars worth. According to a recent article in the Globe, the cost per condo owner is "$70,000 to $400,000 or more each - equaling about 20 percent of the units' market value."

A group of condo owners had banned together to file a suit against the trustees trying to halt the renovations. But a judge has denied the request.

First a disclaimer, I only know what I read in the papers, so my opinions may be a little skewed since I don't have all the facts.

With that said. 20% of the market value?!?! That's a little much don't you think? I'm still saving up my first 20% so I can buy something. Imagine buying your home and then being asked for a second 20%. Nightmare.

Second, don't condos collect condo fees each month? Shouldn't the condo association have years and years worth of condo fees saved up to pay for renovations? I thought that's what condo fees went towards.

From what I've heard, lots of residents are being forced to sell because they can't afford the renovations. But good lord, who would knowingly buy a place knowing that its going to cost an extra 20% on top of the cost of the home in order to have renovations done.

Last question, I promise. Hypothetically, if I owned a $500K condo in the building and then paid 20% for the renovations, would my unit be subsequently worth $600K? Click (here) to read the Globe article.



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1 Response to "The Harbor Towers Nightmare"

  1. Will Said,

    The cost for convenience is high for condos. When I bought mine I had to front 2 months of condo fees as part of the purchase. Additionally, I've had to pay more fees if the building decided to do "improvements or renovations". Plus, condo fees on parking spaces.

    Condo Fees seem to be for the cost to maintain the building, not improve it. There are always budget disputes and the price will never go down.

    Yes, it is a lot, but that is the price for convenience.

    One advice..buy into a building that has the least amount of features. Thus, your condo fee will be less.

    Posted on 11/24/07, 10:03 AM

     
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