Where Have All the Towers Gone?

condo tower

Here is another good argument for prefab versus towers.

In southwest Florida, a 32-story, 200-unit condo building has a single tenant, the Vangelakos family of New Jersey, which purchased their $430,000 unit four years ago in the midst of the Fort Myers housing explosion.

According to a report by the Associated Press, the recession has made it tough to be neighborly at the building when there are no neighbors. The family of five is the sole occupier of the Oasis Tower One. When they visit to escape the cold back home, they have their run of the pool, game room and gym, but it’s sometimes scary to be alone in the often darkened tower.

This is not what Victor Vangelakos banked on. The 45-year-old fire captain made a $10,000 down payment and watched an empty lot become the home of an upscale development. But as the report points out, the massive structure, one of many going dark in Florida, symbolizes the foreclosure crisis as an increasing number of residents look for jobs or ways to cut costs.

“The future was going to be southwest Florida,” Vangelakos told A.P., adding he planned to retire and live permanently in the condo.

Apparently, most of the other tenants opted not to close on their contracts. Those that did have transferred to an adjacent building owned by the same company. That building actually has tenants so you aren’t so alone. But Vangelakos says his mortgage lender won’t let him do the same.

“It’s a beautiful building,” said attorney, John Ewing, who is representing 27 others who made deposits on units. “The problem is, it’s a very lonely building.”

Ewing adds that it seems time froze at the building six months ago when the last person signed-in at the front desk located in the lobby.

Will hungry developers keep building towers in the Cape Coral-Fort Myers metropolitan area despite deserted buildings like this one and others? Lee County has some suffered some of the nation’s worst economic stress from foreclosures, unemployment and bankruptcies, according to The Associated Press’ monthly analysis of more than 3,100 U.S. counties.

Perhaps Vegas is next.

Image: Tim Patterson

Luanne Bradley

Luanne Sanders Bradley is the West coast Editor at EcoSalon and currently resides in San Francisco, California.