A consortium of investors announced Friday that it paid Spokane businessman Wendell Reugh $21.5 million for all eight of the apartment complexes he built in the city over the course of 23 years.
One of them, the 136-unit Ridge Apartments in Browne’s Addition, a complex with spectacular views of the Spokane River, will be converted to condominiums to be offered for sale within three months, the new owners said.
The other complexes, which are on the South Hill and in Browne’s Addition, will remain apartments. However, The Ridge will receive a $2.5 million facelift, with new carpet, countertops, appliances, paint and trim, said Joel Crosby, a Spokane Realtor with Tomlinson Black and one of the partners in Hudson Opportunity Fund-Portage Properties LLC.
When the apartments are converted to condominiums, they will first be offered for sale to current residents. Most of the apartments are two-bedroom units.
“It works financially to do condos at The Ridge. The sales of the condos are going to pay down the debt significantly,” Crosby said. His partners are: Hudson Realty Capital of New York, Richard Wilson, and Mitch Swenson, also a Tomlinson Black Realtor. Wilson was born in Spokane and is involved in business ventures here, in New Jersey and in New York.
“We’re going to modernize it greatly,” said Crosby, who also lives at The Ridge and plans to buy his apartment. “The views and the location and the size make them terrific. Our niche is mostly baby boomers whose kids are gone. It’s a gated community with a swimming pool.”
Prices will range from $139,500 for one-bedroom units to $249,000 for three-bedroom units. The two-bedroom units, which have about 1,300 square feet, will cost $189,000, Crosby said.
Steve Gill, general manager of Reugh Companies, said Wendell Reugh is selling the apartment buildings because he’s getting older and saw this as a good chance to take advantage of Spokane’s hot real estate market. Reugh is 76.
“He certainly sees the benefit of liquidating at this time,” Gill said. “But it’s been a big part of his life all these years.”
Reugh still owns most of the buildings on the Rookery Block in downtown Spokane. He has been trying to sell the buildings and has said he would tear them down if no buyer is found. Several potential deals have fallen through. Gill said he had nothing new to report regarding that property.
Crosby said he and his partners are hoping to tap into pent-up demand for downtown housing. A 2003 study showed that downtown could absorb 1,500 new housing units over next five years. As a result, numerous downtown housing projects have been proposed or are under construction, including 1,000 residential units at the Summit property on the north bank of the Spokane River, eight condominiums on Jefferson Street and proposed townhouses in the site of a former fire station.
“We don’t have to build these; they’re there,” Crosby said. “We’re ahead of the curve in the market.”
Crosby said research shows that about 20 percent of the apartment complex’s current tenants are interested in buying them. Tomlinson Black’s Realtors Relocation Services will help residents who do not want to buy their units to find other apartments, Crosby said. All but six are occupied.