Downtown high-rise still alive

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Construction of a 14-story high-end apartment complex callen One Lakeside is slated to begin this fall where the current Beutler Building on Lakeside Avenue is located. Seen here from the tenth floor of the Lake Tower Apartments, the Beutler Building has green awnings and a dark roof.

COEUR d'ALENE — One Lakeside isn't dead. And it's no longer a condominium project.

Although the building at 201 Lakeside Ave. has been quiet for about two years, surrounded by fencing and signs of what the future might hold, the project has been in limbo rather than heading toward its demise.

According to One Lakeside developer Greg Hills, of the Aspen-based Austin Lawrence Partners development company, when One Lakeside is complete it will house several high-quality apartments rather than condos.

"Now we're doing a rental product there," Hills said in a phone interview Thursday. "Lenders will lend on apartments. We'll have a number of lenders on the project. It's a much easier sell."

Hills said financing the 14-story condo high-rise in Coeur d'Alene is where the project came to a standstill because lenders prefer to put money into gateway cities such as New York or even Seattle.

"The problem ended up being financing. We could not find a lender willing to lend on a condominium project like this in Idaho," Hills said. "Lenders aren't wild about condos because a lot of them got burned in 2008. A lot of them lost money in condos.

"To do it in a smaller market is very difficult to do, especially a project of this size," he continued. "This ended up being too big for local lenders and the bigger banks didn't want to (finance)."

Hills said he is disappointed that the original plan could not become a reality. He and his partners tried for two years to finance the project, but to no avail.

"I do want to apologize to the folks of Coeur d'Alene that we haven't been able to get this thing going," Hills said, adding that despite the efforts made, it just wasn't going to happen.

"We had to keep getting extensions because it wasn't coming together," he said. "It has been ready to go. It was a very nice building we were going to build, very high-end.

"It's a tougher deal to do as a pure-condo building."

Hills and the architecture company, Oz Architecture, are scheduled to meet today in Colorado to discuss the project. He said the One Lakeside apartment building will still have high quality units, but the number of large suites will be reduced from what was planned for the condos.

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BUILDING

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He said the pricing for the apartments will be about 10-15 percent higher than the market for this kind of product, with the nicer, larger units estimated to cost at least $3,000 a month while two-bedroom units could be about $1,700 and one-bedrooms around $1,000-$2,000. The condos would have been in the purchase price of about $300,000, Hills said.

"I think there are a lot of benefits to that," he said of the apartment plan. "It becomes a more accessible program. If you have a couple that wants a one-bedroom and they both make a reasonable amount of money, they might be able to rent in that building rather than buy."

The project has an extension that expires May 24, but Hills said it will still need to be delayed as the changes are finalized and utility work is completed.

"It won't be going full-bore in May," he said. It'll probably be more of a September-October start."

The One Lakeside apartments will have a rooftop pool, health club and other amenities as well as a club room with couches and a fireplace where people will be able to enjoy the view of the lake while getting to know their neighbors.

"Maybe this is what it was always meant to be," Hills said.

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