KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As residents' complaints continue to pile up at the Park Reserve condominiums, homeowners looking to get out are having a hard time finding prospective buyers.
When you see the skyline from the condos at West 31st Street and Baltimore Avenue, it's easy to understand why someone would want to live there.
“I just like facing downtown,” resident Joe Heyen said. "It’s got one of the best views of the city."
Heyen bought his condo four years ago and is generally happy with it, but he said the luxury ends with the view. Many of his neighbors are trying to sell, but the market simply isn't there.
“I don’t think there’s any way you can sell a unit here right now, because we have temporary occupancy permits and no one will loan any money to anyone who wants to buy here,” Heyen said.
A temporary occupancy permit is generally used for a building that is still under construction but has portions that are habitable.
A developer can continue to renew the temporary permits, but mortgage brokers often want to see an official occupancy permit.
It's among the long list of complaints lodged by homeowners during the past year — including numerous and ongoing fire safety hazards, additional code violations, leaky roofs, a broken elevator, and a lack of amenities.
Residents — including Shanan Carson, who spoke with 41 Action News earlier this month when the Kansas City, Missouri, Fire Department shut down the Park Reserve parking garage amid safety concerns — said the property's developer, Wayne Reeder, is no where to be found.
By phone Monday, Carson said he can't move.
“I’m stuck between a rock and a hard spot," he said. "I can’t sell. I most likely can’t rent."
Carson lives on the fourth floor and has to go up six flights of stairs, which would limit the pool of prospective renters. He also said he’d have to charge an exorbitant rent amount to make it work.
A Realtor that Carson works with told him his unit will not meet many Missouri Homeowners Associations requirements and it'll be hard to sell. It's to the point that he had to pass on a promotion opportunity in Texas.
“I can’t move on to Texas without being able to sell my unit here,” Carson said. “It’s really a bummer.”
KCFD ordered Reeder to get permits to fix the safety hazards in the garage. He obtained a permit Oct. 11 to perform requried electrical work.
A listing for five properties under the heading "Park Reserve" was created on the commercial real estate online marketplace, Loopnet, last week. It lists the sale price of the properties as $14.1 million, but Reeder told 41 Action News he wasn't selling the condos, though he had "interested buyers."
The listing agent, Jon Walker of Pinnacle Real Estate Advisors, told 41 Action News that the property was briefly on the market, which explains the website, but that it subsequently was taken off the market.
"We concluded that, given all the litigation involved, it wasn't likely to sell until some of that is cleared up," Walker said.
Currently, there are three empty penthouses and nine empty condos at Park Reserve, which has condos split among several different buildings. But sales of new and occupied units are sluggish given the ongoing issues.
The abandoned Trinity Lutheran Hospital, where police and the city did a sweep last week to clear out any squatters, sits next to the condominium buildings, including one named Yellowstone and another named Grand Teton.
The city has boarded up vacant building many times and has considered taking it over.
Some homeowners hope another developer steps in and makes full use of the property’s potential, which may only happen if cooler heads ultimately prevail.
“Could be paradise, one of the nicest complexes in town, but it's not,” Heyen said.
There are at least four residents suing Reeder in Jackson County Court.
Reeder, who claims the damage to the properties that led to the code violations was "an inside job," has filed a countersuit against the condo’s HOA.
Walker said the HOA lawsuit is particularly problematic for potential buyers who otherwise might be interested in the property.
Reeder sent a statement Tuesday to clarify the issue about the condo's status on the market:
A listing for Park Reserve Condominiums came to the attention of the media recently. Inquiries were thereafter made from the media as to Park Reserve LLC's intentions regarding the possible sale of its units and remaining buildings at Park Reserve.
The listing came about when a real estate broker contacted Park Reserve LLC stating the broker had a possible buyer. Park Reserve LLC was not actively marketing its properties at Park Reserve Condominiums, but were willing to talk with the broker's possible buyer. In order to do that, the broker needed a listing which Park Reserve LLC provided.
The discussion with the potential buyer did not go forward including for the reason of the pending litigation. Because the listing involved only one potential buyer and the discussions could not go forward, the listing has been cancelled and Park Reserve LLC's properties at Park Reserve Condominiums are not for sale.