New investor takes over at The 903, auction canceled
10:58 AM Thu, Dec 17, 2009 | Providence Journal
By Christine Dunn
PROVIDENCE, R.I — A new investor, Boston-based Winn Development Co., has stepped forward to prevent a scheduled foreclosure auction of the unsold condominiums at The 903 complex in downtown Providence.
The Athena Group of New York has transferred its interest in the property to Winn, which has purchased The 903 for “a fraction” of the $81 million price paid for the 330-unit complex in October 2005, according to Winn Development President Lawrence H. Curtis.
Since buying the former apartment complex, Athena has only sold 97 of the units, at an average price of $330,000, Curtis said. Winn will improve the property and continue renting units there until the Providence condo market revives, he said. The property is currently 68 percent occupied, according to Curtis.
Curtis and former Providence Mayor Joseph Paolino Jr., who remains an investor in the project, said they have been negotiating a deal for months with Athena and the consortium of banks, led by the Bank of America, which had loaned money to Athena.
Curtis and Paolino said a confidentiality agreement prevents them from revealing financial details, but Curtis said the price was “close to” the $17-million new mortgage on the property, filed this week at the deed registry at Providence City Hall. The new lender is Columbus Bank & Trust Co. of Columbus, Georgia.
Winn Development, with offices at the historic Faneuil Hall Marketplace, owns The Bostonian Hotel and apartment properties in 23 states. The company owns an affordable housing development in South Providence, Lockwood Plaza, at 50 Prairie Avenue, and developed the Williams Woods development off Thurbers Avenue. Curtis said the company was eager to expand its Providence portfolio with a more upscale project.