The Coastal Star

Seahorse condo development falls victim to hard economic times: Gulf Stream

By Steve Pounds

The $90 million Seahorse oceanfront condominium has been canceled, the victim of a tough economy and the recession in the housing market.
“It’s dead for financial reasons,” said Ann Bane, a spokeswoman for Palm Beach Gardens-based Catalfumo Construction Inc. “We did the initial preconstruction work and prepared the site, and then the project stalled.” The low-rise development suffered from inconvenient timing. It began last year as the housing market was beginning to wind down.
The decades-old Seahorse started out as a 32-unit co-op with a swimming pool and restaurant for Ohio polo enthusiasts, situated on 300 feet of oceanfront on A1A in unincorporated Palm Beach County on the north edge of Gulf Stream.
Then last year, a Cincinnati-based development company, JFP Group, began making presales for a new condominium project on the 3-acre parcel that is divided by the highway. The project was made up of 42 single-floor units in one four-story and three three-story buildings.
Catalfumo would be the builder, while the project was to be financed by LaSalle and Mercantile banks, said Dave DeMay, Catalfumo vice president of sales.
The development group did not return phone calls. But DeMay confirmed that JFP had pre-sold seven units. Still, it would need a handful of additional presales for the banks to bankroll the project, and the market never materialized.
“Without enough presales, the banks wouldn’t finance it. That’s standard for the industry,” DeMay said.

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