mypalmbeachpost.com: Boynton condo owners fear corporate takeover as their homes revert to apartments
By Kimberly Miller
August 31, 2013
BOYNTON BEACH — All summer they’ve been leaving, one by one, sometimes in hushed deals shielded from public record. The Polish couple in unit 303. The 66-year-old in 202, who thought his little condo at Boynton Beach’s Via Lugano would be the last home he ever bought. By July, even the lone homeowner representative on the condominium board had sold out, stranding the remaining 80 owners at the Congress Avenue condo complex with no voice against a corporation 280 units strong and gaining.
The serene, if average, Via Lugano condominium began life as an apartment complex. It was converted to condos during the heady days of real estate when two-bedroom units were selling for upward of $300,000. Now, with Via Lugano values down as much as 75 percent, the Newton, Mass-based Northland Investment Corp. owns the majority of units, turning the community back into apartments. Remaining owners, many who are desperately under water on their mortgages, said they are being nudged out.
“Don’t be the last one to sell,” is what owner Jordan Greenfield said he was told one day during a visit to the main office on an unrelated matter. “They told me Northland is buying up everything, and I should act fast to get out,” said Greenfield, who is tens of thousands of dollars underwater. If they don’t sell, the remaining owners fear they will be forced out in a legal maneuver that would give them only fair-market value for their homes if 80 percent of owners agree to terminate the condominium. Read more: