As developers of Grand Central at Kennedy
work to sell the property's remaining units, Federal National Mortgage Association
(FNMA), commonly known as Fannie Mae, has approved the property's lowest financing rate to date.
First-time homebuyers can put as little as 3 percent down and all others can put as little as 5 percent down as long as the unit serves as their primary residence, according to Ken Stoltenburg, co-director of Mercury Advisors
, the developer of the project. The approval also allows Grand Central to sell residences at a 30-year fixed rate mortgage instead of an adjustable rate mortgage.
"It's not uncommon," Stoltenberg says of the approval, "but for a property like ours, it's a difficult thing to obtain."
The East and West buildings that make up Grand Central at 1120 and 1208 E. Kennedy Blvd. in the Channel District were built in 2007. The East building sold out the same year, but during the economic downturn, the West building didn't do as well. Mercury Advisors owned more than 10 percent of the units, which disqualified the company from obtaining low financing rates through Fannie Mae.
As the economy has recovered, Mercury Advisors has been able to sell some of the remaining units with limited financing resources, explains Jason Nordin, vice president/area sales manager of American Momentum Bank
. Also in the meantime, Fannie Mae created a special approval process for projects in Florida that allows approval for new condo projects that have fewer than 90 percent of the total units conveyed.
"Although this project was built in 2007, it's still considered a new construction condo by Fannie Mae terms," Nordin says.
"It's not necessarily unusual," he adds of the approval, "but what does occur more often than not is the developer isn't aware of what financing options are available." Or the developer isn't willing to pay for the expensive approval process because they don't understand the benefits.
Approval for Grand Central at Kennedy came earlier this month. The $145 million mixed-use urban development is now more than 90 percent sold out with 35 homes remaining. Homes start in the $200,000s with many ready for move-in.
Now, Stoltenburg is turning his attention to nearby 1105 E. Twiggs St. where the Channel Club
, a 38,000-square-foot Publix Super Market and 22-story residential high-rise, is under construction. The new Publix should be complete in early 2019.
"We're excited to bring a Publix to downtown Tampa," Stoltenburg says.