After four years of fits, starts, lawsuits and a bankruptcy, a long-troubled West End condo project finally has a finished unit.
The Tiber, a high-end development at Libbie and Guthrie avenues that had stalled out for years due to a dispute among its original partners, today opens its model unit with an agents-only happy hour event. It is boasting three condos under contract, including one of its penthouses.
David Posner, a local businessman who bought into the project last year with its original contractor John George, said the model opening is a show of stability that should help The Tiber shed skepticism that’s hovered over the 15-unit project in recent years.
“From day one we had confidence that once we got control of the project we’d be able to finish it,” Posner said.
The Tiber saga began in 2013, when construction began and unit pre-sales showed brisk interest on the way to a planned 2015 completion.
George was one of the original partners in the development and its general contractor. An internal feud caused construction delays and back-and-forth suing among the partners. Work then came to a standstill, despite all but one of the units having deposits from prospective buyers.
The drama ended last year when Posner and George took ownership of the property through a bankruptcy sale and the buyers were refunded their deposits.
Posner, who said he has personally financed the bulk of the project since stepping in, said getting the model open is also a point of pride for George, who was accused in a lawsuit by his partners of not being able to handle a project of this magnitude.
“That’s one of the reasons he was adamant about finishing the project,” Posner said of George. “He wanted to prove to people that a lot of the issues that led to the bankruptcy of the original development group was not his fault. He’s had a lot to prove and he’s worked hard.”
With the model ready, Posner said the remaining units have been dry-walled and are ready for buyer customizations. He said the group also is considering completing the units with its own finishes and selling them as-is.
“A lot of what we do will be based on feedback that we get (from the open house),” Posner said.
The buyers with the three units under contract are all new buyers, outside of the group of original pre-bankruptcy buyers. Posner said they hope to bring at least some of those original buyers back into the fold.
“We are in communication with several of the previous buyers. You can understand their hesitancy,” he said. “We haven’t pressured them to make commitments.”
The Tiber’s 14 condos range from 2,000 square feet up to 3,500 square feet for the penthouses. Prices are set at $675,000 up to $1.5 million.
The project also includes a neighboring 2,800-square-foot single-family cottage, the price for which has not been set.
George’s wife, Page, an agent with Engel & Volkers, is handling the listing and sales of the units.
The agents-only open house will be held in the model unit Wednesday from 4:30-7:30 p.m. An open house for the general public is planned for a later date, Posner said.