I love condos, even the ones without a view of the ocean. They have a perspective you just can’t get elsewhere. I’ve stayed in a bunch over the last 15 years, and not one was bad, even a second floor bomber. But since I moved here I see things differently, maybe more confused than ever. I can’t see why condos are inherently bad, other than most are butt-ugly on the outside; I also can’t figure out if they do a darn for the local economy. Heck, all these new ones might turn out to be bad for the local economy, for all I know.
When locals hear that hallowed names like Tequila Frogs, Louie’s, Jim’s Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf, and Parrot Eyes (we call it “paradise”) will be condo-ized, one must pause for reflection. You can see why a lot of true locals – at least those not connected with the commercial land flippin’ industry – really hate high-rise condos. Rumors are that five major high-rises over 6 stories are in the works, and another five are being drawn up: there goes the neighborhood.
But change happens and these condo folks are just making a living, sometimes at great risk. There’s a story that Bridgepoint, the most famous condo on the Island, was almost a disaster because the fellow built just in time for the Texas Recession and Stock Market Crash of 1985. At first he lost his proverbial ass. If I may add, many of the pre-sold customers backed out, the peso cratered, and it was not a memorable time because I lost $30,000 in inherited stock in ten minutes – like 90 percent of all of it. But look at Bridgepoint today – getting a facelift and units selling in the high six and low seven figures. Not bad if you stayed in the game.
The question about whether condos do any good for the Island still bothers me, though. There may be more dwelling units but the population and sales taxes have been almost flat for at least ten years. What’s going on here? How can the Island be a top 10 US beach destination and still have flat activity?
I will attempt to explore the issue in future blogs. If this was a really hot market like parts of Florida (Naples) and North Carolina (Myrtle Beach), retail and food establishments should be booming because of all the condos and fancy townhomes.
Something just ain’t right.