Specialty: Residential, commercial redevelopment; historic rehabilitation
The challenging housing market requires keeping an eye open for opportunities. The Gintz Group, which specializes in redeveloping multifamily buildings, has been trying to make the most of the impending slowdown.
With condominium inventories on the rise, “absorption is continuing to be challenge,” said COO Ron Gintz, a former mayor of Federal Way.
Gintz and his son, CEO Dave Gintz, see the current housing climate as a chance to buy up financially troubled multifamily buildings at attractive prices and hold on to them for a few years while raising rents. The firm has also considered farming out development services to troubled projects.
“Buying and holding will be a good move over the next five years,” Dave Gintz said.
The subprime opportunity
The subprime crisis, Dave said, has also afforded his firm an opportunity to line up financing for home buyers that less savvy developers can’t provide.
Another tack the firm is taking amid the housing slowdown is to gravitate toward the more slump-proof extremes of the condo market — entry homes and ultra-luxury.
“It’s not a good idea to be building $300,000 to $500,000 condos in downtown Tacoma and downtown Seattle, for that matter,” Dave said. “It needs to be a niche project and price-point driven.”
One redevelopment project the firm is bullish on is an 87-unit condo complex in Tacoma’s historically distressed Hilltop neighborhood, where units will sell for $119,000 to $155,000.
“That’s unheard of in the Tacoma market,” Dave said of the comparatively low prices. “First-time home buyers haven’t gone away — it’s the higher-priced units that tend not to move.”
Porno turned mixed-use
The Gintz Group has also sought out more commercial projects, such as 732 Broadway in Tacoma, a commercial condominium redevelopment, and the old Mecca Theater, a mixed-use redevelopment.
The Mecca, a former downtown Tacoma adult film theater, will include 12 condos, a bar with a performance space, and 11,000 square feet of commercial space.
“Most people we’ve talked to embrace the name,” Dave said of the decision to call the development the Mecca. “They like the checkered past.”
The firm is also looking to partner with the city of Tacoma to restore the historic Luzon Building at South 13th Street and Pacific Avenue. The project will include retail space and office condominiums.
The Gintz Group has tended to gravitate toward redevelopment projects because it can buy for less than the cost of ground-up construction, but that may change soon. It owns a half-acre in downtown Tacoma that it is considering for a 130-unit senior housing project.
The firm also owns properties in Seattle, Arizona, California and Tennessee.
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