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LONG BEACH, CA—A lopsided buyer’s market has left several condominiums at one of Downtown Long Beach’s most prolific high-rise developments unsold, and now an auction is being held to sell off 39 upscale units with minimum bids starting as low as one-third of the original sales prices.

Citi Property Investors, the real estate investment center of Citi Alternative Investments, plans to hold a real estate auction for West Ocean Two, part of a two-tower $196 million, 246-unit luxury condominium development facing Downtown’s shoreline.

When the project was completed at the start of this year, project developer Intracorp acknowledged at the time that it had some sales cancellations because of the market downturn, but that 68 of the 132 units in Tower 1 on Ocean Boulevard had already been occupied and roughly 80% were sold. Roughly half of the units in Tower 2 had sold, Intracorp said in January. Intracorp executives couldn’t immediately be reached for comment, nor could executives at Citi.

The West Ocean Two auction will be conducted by Accelerated Marketing Partners and will take place at 4 p.m. on Aug. 24 at the Hilton Long Beach, 701 West Ocean Blvd., a block west and across the street from the West Ocean development. The auction information center and model residences for the 39 one, two and three-bedroom residences are open daily for viewing from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at 411 West Seaside Way.

“Just because we’ve got a market that’s really not helping developers right now, it’s going to be a terrific opportunity for the buyers,” says Ken Stevens, co-founder and CEO of Accelerated. According to Stevens, Citi has taken over as the managing entity of the community.

Two lenders will be at the auction, Countrywide Financial and Wells Fargo, pre-qualifying buyers, and bidders must bring a cashier’s check for $5,000—winning bidders must have a $10,000 available as a deposit, Stevens says.

This is a minimum bid auction, meaning the “highest bidder on the day at or above the minimum gets to own the unit at that price,” Stevens says, adding there are no buyer premiums.

Tower 1 is Long Beach’s second-tallest building at 345 feet–just shy of the 397-foot World Trade Center across Ocean Boulevard. The 30-story tower features 132 one and two-bedroom units, with sales prices originally from the high $400,000s to $1 million.

There are 114 one and two-bedroom residences in Tower 2, the 21-story south tower, which at 253 feet tall ranks as the city’s 11th-tallest building–that structure originally had asking prices ranging from the low $500,000s to $1.5 million.

The nine one-bedroom residences being auctioned are roughly 893 sf and have minimum selling prices starting from $275,000. The 25 two-bedrooms range from 1,040 sf to 1,654 sf with minimum selling prices starting at $350,000. The five three-bedroom residences are roughly 1,651 sf with minimum selling prices starting from $795,000.

The thin towers are called “contemporary classic,” a look that moves away from the older square-shaped style. It uses more metal and glass, with curved sides facing the water “to signal that’s a special side of the building,” according to the project’s architect, Vancouver-based Perkins & Co.

Originally under development as part of the adjacent 9.5-acre Camden Harbor View project, the development is on the site of a former parking lot at Ocean Boulevard and Chestnut Street near the Pike at Rainbow Harbor retail and entertainment lifestyle center. Camden sold the site for an undisclosed sum to Intracorp Los Angeles LLC in 2003. In 1999, Camden Property Trust paid $20 million for the property, according to city records.

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