By LIZ SMITH, AP WriterGulfview condopresidents say they’ve had to sell hundreds of unwanted condo units to be able to afford to pay their bills.
The units were sold to the highest bidder, leaving residents of a neighborhood with a shrinking pool of housing for many of them to rent.
The condominium industry, which has struggled to find housing in the area, is trying to capitalize on a booming job market by leasing out the unused units for apartments.
They’re not the most attractive to renters, but they offer a more affordable alternative to renting.
A number of condominium owners are suing the city of Fort Pierce for its role in allowing the buildings to be converted to apartments.
City officials say they’re working with a developer to develop a mixed-use plan for the property.
The city’s Department of Land Management says it can’t comment on pending litigation.
The Fort Pierce City Council approved the sale of nearly 1,000 condominium buildings last month.
The council’s decision prompted Fort Pierce Mayor Mike G. Johnson to launch an investigation into how the city handled the sale.
Johnson, who is also a member of the Legislature, says he wants the city to conduct an “audit” of the sale, which would include looking into the role of Fort Park Condominiums Inc., which is the real estate arm of Fort Point LLC.
The developer, G.P. Johnson LLC, has said it bought the properties in 2013 for $1.5 million and sold them in 2018 for $2.5 billion.
The company’s website lists several condominium developments, including the Fort Point condominium and the Fort Pierce condominium complex.
G.P., the company that owns the Fort Park condominium, said in a statement that the sale was approved in good faith and the city has a strong track record of handling condominium transactions.
The Fort Pierce Condominium Association said it has been in contact with the city’s legal department.
In a statement to the AP, Gollancz, which owns the company, said it had “no knowledge” of any violations and said the city is working with the developer.
Gollancs statement did not say what the company plans to do with the condominium properties.