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  • Jeremy Hart, Real Estate Professional in Blacksburg


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January 04, 2008


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I don't necessarily think its the number of condos on the market, as to how much they think they can get for them. Clay Court, even though is in a decent location wants mid 200k for theirs. A 300 square foot condo @ the Colosseum for 170k? The words give me a break come to mind. Football fans, and retirees might have money to burn, but the reason they have money to burn is because they aren't dumb enough to buy something that is so overpriced just because it is the Blacksburg town limits.


I don’t think that Blacksburg is saturated with condos because the concept makes good sense to such a huge transient market, (Virginia Tech Students if no one else). In simple terms, why rent – when you can own. It’s not an issue of saturation so much as it is affordability or realistic pricing.

Based on pricing alone, it’s clear that projects such as The Colosseum are not designed for the student market. Instead they are designed for the select few (corporate expense or not) that can afford to own something that sits unused 95% of the year. Like the stadium itself, but not state owned) This is a market segment I honestly don’t know much about, but I will say that it does contribute to increased pricing across the board, which ultimately changes the dynamics of affordability for all Real Estate in Blacksburg.

Jeremy Hart

Bill - you're right, pricing becomes key. The same problem that The Colosseum is likely to have is what the Holiday Inn conversion is currently facing ... in your words, "give me a break". $567 a square foot in Blacksburg? Not right now.

Doug - thanks for writing in. The idea of condo ownership in projects like Cascades Pointe is a good one for people (1) buying their first home, (2) are "transitional residents" or (3) parents investing in the local market. One of the problems IMO that Cascades Pointe has run into though has been an oversupply of $100000-160000 condos to the 3 segments above.

I'm worried that some of these other higher-priced projects are going to face the same problem. Too many products available to too small a market will be a detriment to the market as prices will be forced to fall.

My $.02.

James Oliver

I enjoyed reading your post about the Colosseum. I thought I would take the opportunity to officially respond to some of your points and questions. First, while the real estate market in general may be in decline nationally, especially the traditional condo market, the one segment of condo sales that has stayed consistent and greatly surpassed expectations is the sale of "game day" condos in major college sports towns. Many alumni who spend lots of their disposbale income on seeing their favorite team play (and hopefully win) want more than a lodging experience when they come to town. Spend some quality time researching the national condo sales trends and you will be surprised to find what I am saying is true. Second, what you term as saturation of the market place in Blacksburg I call buyer opportunity. The developers of The Colosseum, as well as the Legends, and Holiday Inn conversion are smart people and are responding to a market demand. While currently their may be lots of choices for potential buyers that is not a bad thing especially when those choices are far ranging in price, size, amenities, and service. Regarding the Colosseum specifically we have chosen to develop a high end luxury resort stay opportunity which we understand is a specific market niche which may not appeal to everyone in the marketplace. The Colosseum offers 23 different unit plans, most of which include varying sizes of balconies (not decks). The balconies range in size from 8 SQFT to over 244 SQFT depending on the unit plan. While an 8 SQFT balcony may not seem "big" to your concept of "Roman tradition", it is a pretty unique feature not usually offered in smaller unit plans. The real "big" things the Colosseum offers to potential buyers is a resort like stay with luxury amenities and unsurpassed service. Regardless of the room size a buyer at the Colosseum chooses, they get much more than a place to sleep; 4 star restaurant, upscale full service bar and lounge, 24-7 room service, valet underground parking, game day transportation and catering opportunities, private owner parties and functions, laundry services, baby sitting services, spa services, an indoor pool and fitness center, outdoor terraces with water features and fireplaces, and world class business and meeting spaces all managed by Salamander Hospitality, one the top resort management companies in the world to name a few. All of these things also play into the price. While the SQFT average may seem high to you by Blacksburg standards this is a new product new to the market in Blacksburg and one that cannot be compared to the avergage SQFT price of student housing or other previously built condos. By comparrison to other condo-hotels in other college towns the pricing and monthly fees are actually very competative. The Colosseum as well as the other game day lodging oppotunities being offered by Kent Square, the Legends, and the Collegiate Inn offer buyers a lot of great choices that will help continue to make Blacksburg a destination place, and not just for football weekends. I am excited about the opportunites these new developments are offering and I personally hope that as more buyers (alumni, family, and friends) make purchasing decisions and become invested in the NRV they will visit more often and stay longer which is a good thing for social reasons but will also help our local economy.

James Oliver
Director of Marketing
The Coloseum LLC

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Based on pricing alone, it’s clear that projects such as The Colosseum are not designed for the student market. Instead they are designed for the select few (corporate expense or not) that can afford to own something that sits unused 95% of the year, It's true.

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I am excited about the opportunities these new developments are offering and I personally hope that as more buyers make purchasing decisions and become invested in the NRV,


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In 217, the Colosseum was badly damaged by a major fire(caused by lightning, according to Dio Cassius) which destroyed the wooden upper levels of the amphitheatre's interior. It was not fully repaired until about 240 and underwent further repairs in 250 or 252 and again in 320.

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