Jun 11, 2008

Pinky,
You might post the most recent article in the Los Alamos Monitor about Los Alamos apartments undergoing foreclosure. Interesting to note--the biggest impact resulted from LANS and their decision to get rid of contractors and discontinuing their summer housing program. Clearly LANS is not doing much to support the local economy.
-Anonymous


Los Alamos Apartments fall into foreclosure

By CAROL A. CLARK, Los Alamos Monitor

The largest property foreclosure in the history of Los Alamos is underway.
The Los Alamos Apartments, with a foreclosure value of approximately $3 million, run east of the Bradbury Science Museum to 9th Street between Central Avenue and Iris Street, and includes two buildings immediately adjacent to museum park housed the Los Alamos National Laboratory student housing.

Assistant County Administrator Tony Mortillaro made the announcement during Tuesday’s county council meeting held at the Community Building. Mortillaro told the board that the county had been notified of the foreclosure by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), adding that the Bradbury Row development project intended for the property is probably not going to happen.

The foreclosed property is one of the highest density residential properties in Los Alamos with 132 units on some four acres of land. It’s owned by Los Alamos Apartments Inc. of which Kent Waterman owns 100 percent of the stock. He purchased the property in 1994 from a California man. The man had inherited the apartments from his father who owned them since 1965.

“They had become slums,” said Kent’s brother, Roger Waterman, during a meeting Tuesday.

The Waterman brothers own TRK Management, which has managed the Los Alamos Apartments since 1995.

“There was a motorcycle repair shop operating out of the apartments and all kinds of crazy things like that going on there,” he said. “It took us about a year to clean them up in terms of tenants not paying rent, residing there under no leases, then another year to secure the funding to remodel the apartments.”

The remodeling was completed in 1997, he said.

The Watermans have lived in Los Alamos since 1947 and have carried on the tradition started by their father, Robert Waterman, of building and managing properties throughout Los Alamos and White Rock. The Watermans own and manage many familiar landmarks such as Oppenheimer Place and the property housing the Bradbury Museum, which is leased by LANL. They also own the Hampton Inn in White Rock and developed Oppenheimer Place and Quemazon.

“The Los Alamos Apartments property was operating profitably until transitions forced on the Los Alamos National Laboratory had as expected impacts on the apartments,” Waterman said during the interview. “The property is currently running at about a 40 percent occupancy rate. We lost about 20 percent of our units rented to contractors a year ago last fall when the laboratory laid off several contractors. Then last year the laboratory discontinued their summer housing program, which affected another 59 units. Since last fall Los Alamos Apartments lowered rates by 15-20 percent, depending on lease term, but the market does not appear to have recovered.”

On May 30, HUD sent a foreclosure notification to the tenants living in the Los Alamos Apartments. In the letter, the agency urged tenants to complete an enclosed income survey by June 30. The survey results are meant to help HUD determine any assistance that may be available to the tenants at the time the property is sold, according to the letter.

“If HUD is not outbid at (the) foreclosure sale and acquires title to the property and the property is sold to a unit of local government, 10 percent of the units in the complex will be restricted for future occupancy by chronically homeless persons,” HUD states in the letter.

A chronically homeless person is defined by HUD as an unaccompanied, disabled individual, who has been on the street for more than one year or has four episodes of homelessness in the last three years.

HUD states that no tenant will be displaced as a result of the 10 percent homeless restriction but rather that the requirement will be met by filling vacant units.
Director of Property Disposition Ruth Pompa in HUD’s Fort Worth regional office said this morning that the property is scheduled to be auctioned off on the courthouse steps in August or, more likely, in September.

County Administrator Max Baker commented on the foreclosure following the council meeting Tuesday evening saying, “The county continues to struggle with a number of issues in our commercial sector and we are working proactively to bring about the changes in which the private sector can find more success.”

Questions regarding the foreclosure should be directed to HUD representative Debie Bolin at 888-805-8993.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sorry but I don't feel sorry for the Waterman's. They are bastards who build and maintain poorly built properties and who own most of the retail space in LA which they rent out for such high prices that the tenants can't afford. Boo hoo Ted and Kent - now maybe you know what it feels like.

Anonymous said...

The Waterman's are a bunch of slum-lords who don't take care of their properties but charge rent that is impossible for any business to pay - aside from the lab, from which the Waterman's have made a ton of money.

Anonymous said...

The issue is not if you like the Watermans or the way they do business. The issue is that again LANS has managed to adversely affect the economy on the north side of the bridge.

As Henry II asked, "Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest", and his knights obliged him by murdering Thomas a Becket.

How do we rid ourselves of LANS, or more importantly, undo the privatization of our national labs? This seems to be the question Eric continues to raise with very little positive response.

Anonymous said...

I think the point, 6:49 pm, is perhaps that not everyone trusts the Watermans' explanation as to why these apartments are in foreclosure. I recall a restaurant closing once and the owners blaming the high minimum wage, yet other restaurants did just fine and it was really just a case of mis-management.

Anonymous said...

“...10 percent of the units in the complex will be restricted for future occupancy by chronically homeless persons,” HUD states in the letter.

Yeah, they'll probably need these low costs units for the homeless people wandering around Los Alamos over the next few years. LLNL just laid off about 450 workers last month, and I suspect that LANS has plans to do likewise during this next year. The economic outlook for Los Alamos is turning bleak.

This was not the only unit that recently went into foreclosure. A newly built townhouse complex in North Community valued at $1.5 M also went into foreclosure earlier this Spring. Some single family residences around town have also gone into foreclosure.

With all that is happening at LANL, It's only a matter of time before the County's Boyer shopping complex encounters hard economic realities caused by the LANS transition and gets completely scrapped.

Anonymous said...

“The property is currently running at about a 40 percent occupancy rate. We lost about 20 percent of our units rented to contractors a year ago last fall when the laboratory laid off several contractors. Then last year the laboratory discontinued their summer housing program, which affected another 59 units. Since last fall Los Alamos Apartments lowered rates by 15-20 percent, depending on lease term, but the market does not appear to have recovered.”

What a load of crap. If you let a complex get to 40% occupancy you need to fire the management. Lowering rates by 15-20% and still not getting tenants indicates the pieces of crap were over priced to begin with. It's nothing more than a tax write off any way.

Anonymous said...

6:49 pm: "The issue is that again LANS has managed to adversely affect the economy on the north side of the bridge."

No. The issue is that the 60+ year tradition of Los Alamos, the town, being totally dependent economically on the Lab "south of the bridge" is coming home to roost. The county has never taken seriously the need to economically diversify - now they are going to start paying the price of complacency. If I know anything about the Waterman brothers, this isn't going to hurt them a bit. The "little people" trying to survive in overproced and under developed Los Alamos are a different story. Guess what - neither the Lab, nor DOE/NNSA, after all this time, owe the county a single penny. Stand up on your own, or fall down. It's past time to wean yourselves off of the federal teat.

Why do you think it is that a citizen cannot buy in Los Alamos: a washer or dryer (or any major appliance), a new car, a television set, a major piece of furniture; or have more than one choice for virtually anything else? All the above used to be available in Los Alamos, most in more than one place. Complacency has led Los Alamos, and in particular the county government, to fall asleep for the past several decades. Time to wake up.

Anonymous said...

I have to say that I have no
sympathy for the Watermans and other Los Alamos landlords.

When I first came to LANL about 20
years ago they were charging very
high rates for really crappy apartments. We got a whole lot more for our money in Santa Fe.

Anonymous said...

Interesting that the foreclosure of the apartments were mentioned in the Monitor along side the bond resolution that was passed by the school board in preparation of raising our taxes to pay for school upkeep for the next 20 years. Did you all catch the "this is the one-time tax increase." Yah for how long is this one-time increase going to last? Our property taxes are going to increase by an average of perhaps $464 on a $300,000 house. LANs going down the drain and food, gas, everything on the increase and the first thing that they think to do is to raise taxes. One can't sell the house in order to move but they will increase our taxes to make sure we are between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps we should just say no to any more tax increases.

Anonymous said...

"Why do you think it is that a citizen cannot buy in Los Alamos: a washer or dryer (or any major appliance), a new car, a television set, a major piece of furniture; or have more than one choice for virtually anything else? All the above used to be available in Los Alamos, most in more than one place. Complacency has led Los Alamos, and in particular the county government, to fall asleep for the past several decades. Time to wake up."

You could never buy a new car in Los Alamos. You could purchase appliances at one time at Sears and Montgomery Ward catalog stores. However, Los Alamos did not chase those stores out. The companies pulled the stores from many locations. Even Espanola could not support a Sears store that sold appliances with a much larger drawing area than Los Alamos once Lowes was built. We are not complacent, but we suffer from the same problems that many small communities suffer from if they do not have a large enough customer base from outlying communities. There has never been much competition except in the grocery business. We now suffer from a single grocery store with no competition and a poor selection.

"When I first came to LANL about 20
years ago they were charging very
high rates for really crappy apartments. We got a whole lot more for our money in Santa Fe."

You pay for gas to commute to LANL unless you car pool or ride a bus (not available 20 years ago), your tax rate and crime rate are higher, your schools are crappy, and your public services are not much better. Do you bring your kids to Los Alamos to school to receive a better education and not help pay for their education with your taxes? You do not support the community any more than the LANS/Bechtel clowns.

"LANs going down the drain and food, gas, everything on the increase and the first thing that they think to do is to raise taxes. One can't sell the house in order to move but they will increase our taxes to make sure we are between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps we should just say no to any more tax increases."

Our taxes will rise even more as our GRT revenues decrease which will happen in a few more years. Once the County sells bonds under 529 to pay for the $75million collection of offices, warehouses, and shops at airport basin and has to start paying them off, we will see another rise in property and GRT taxes. Finding the money for other projects will cost taxpayers even more. In probably no less than 5 years that $464 figure will be almost double. Moreover, it will be more and more difficult to sell our homes so the rate of foreclosure will rise, thus impacting the value of other homes. NM laws do not help because although they limit the appraisal rate for property taxes to increase by only 3% annually, when a home is sold, the next year's tax bill is based on the sale price so the new owners are really soaked for taxes.

Services that require direct federal funding or state funding that in part is comprised of federal funding will certainly decrease in the next few years because the only way to strengthen the dollar is to eliminate the deficit, something the hated Bill Clinton did at the urging of Congress. So look for the $8million DOE support for our schools to disappear. Of course, LANL will no longer attract the folks that require excellent education for their children so why try to provide it. Eliminating it will mean more money for LANS, LLNS, etc.

Anonymous said...

I can already see that property taxes in Los Alamos County will soon be going up. But not just by a little amount, but way, way up.

Get ready to feel some significant taxation pain if you live here. The County's current and future plans are going to saddle the remaining citizens with lots of debt and high interest payments. And the NNSA/Congress planned downsizing of LANL by around 30% is only going to only add rocket fuel to the County's approaching taxation problems.

Anonymous said...

The Watermans have few fans within the Los Alamos community. However, the County government appears to be completely clueless about what is occurring across the bridge over in LANS-land. It's sad to watch this play out.

Anonymous said...

So they got foreclosed on because of changing circumstances - happens every day. Anyone who mortgages real property for personal or rental use takes those risks.

Anyone know who foreclosed on them and gets stuck with the POS?

Anonymous said...

Looks like the taxpayers via HUD get stuck with the loss.

Anonymous said...

It's VERY hard for me to believe that TRK can't pay the mortgage on The Caves, after ripping off Los Alamos for so many decades they must have assets up the wazoo. This looks more like a way to cut their losses on a bad investment decision. Blaming the Lab is just a cheap shot.

Anonymous said...

If these guys are the businessmen people claim them to be, it seems reasonable to assume they minimized their risks and costs of the project. It appears as though Los Alamos Apartments, Inc is the owner - TRK Mgt is a separate mgt company. Sort of the LANS, LLC concept. Presumably, a pure by the numbers business decision.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the statement of anonymous at 6/12/08 9:05 AM:

"You pay for gas to commute to LANL unless you car pool or ride a bus (not available 20 years ago), your tax rate and crime rate are higher, your schools are crappy, and your public services are not much better. Do you bring your kids to Los Alamos to school to receive a better education and not help pay for their education with your taxes? "

1. My tax rate is not higher.
2. We don't have kids.
and, most important,
we can sell our house at a major profit!

Anonymous said...

Is HUD going to import homeless people?? Just what we need. Most (chronic) homeless have substance abuse and or mental health problems. There goes our small town safety

Why can't they just have a low income level for which they provide subsidized housing? - There are jobs here that go begging because people are priced out of the housing market. HUD ownership will be a terrible mistake.

Anonymous said...

I'm not one for higher taxes but if we need to fund our schools/infrastructure so the kids in our community can get good educations, then so be it. People living in LA have been totally spoiled by low property taxes. I'm not sure this is going to be a luxury anymore. $464/yr is about $50 a month increase in your escrow payments. What are you squacking about??? Gasoline bills have doubles and tripled over the past 2 years but nobody is complaining about cashing in their SUV.

I do have to agree the Waterman's aren't hurting for money but LANS hasn't done much lately to help with the local economy.

Anonymous said...

Los Alamos schools have an enviable record of success. BUT, I submit that is more a consequence of the parents paying attention to business than what the teachers have done. I don't mean to demean the contribution of the teachers but the parents are the primary motivator for student success or failure.

Throwing money at the schools does not accomplish much. The big lie of the NEA is "pay us more and we will do it all for you."

Anonymous said...

"Los Alamos schools have an enviable record of success."

Really? LAHS barely made it on the latests "1000 Best High Schools in the US" list, ranking somewhere around the 930 mark. Both Angle Fire and Hobbs high schools beat them out with considerable higher rankings. At the current rate of decline, LAHS won't even be on next year's Best High Schools list.

Anonymous said...

We have declining employment and dropping real incomes in a one company town, homes that can't sell, and foreclosures popping up all around town. And into this lousy economic environment, some people in town want to see the property taxes go up much higher? It must be some of those "Los Alamos Millionaires" we keep hearing about!

Anonymous said...

"It must be some of those "Los Alamos Millionaires" we keep hearing about!"

No, I'm a single mother of two young children you pompous jack ass.

Anonymous said...

"No, I'm a single mother of two young children you pompous jack ass." - 6/13/08 4:11 PM

Whoops! Looks like someone forgot to take their mega-dose of Midol. Just so you know, I wasn't talking about you when I used the term "Los Alamos Millionaires", honey.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops! Looks like someone forgot to take their mega-dose of Midol. Just so you know, I wasn't talking about you when I used the term "Los Alamos Millionaires", honey.


Oh yes SIR! Did you forget to take your mega dose of viagra today, dude?

Anonymous said...

Great, another pissing contest.

Those "Los Alamos Millionaires" are most likely retirees with a reasonable, but not extravagant retirement savings. Nevertheless, there is no reason for everyone in the county to be subsidizing the school system and the local (rip-off) businesses.

ganesh v said...

It would be good to see UNM-LA and LANL jointly manage such properties to provide affordable housing to students and visitors.

There are already many lab interns/ Summer school students living at the UNM-LA housing complex on 9th street (situated very close to Los Alamos Apts.)

For eg., back home, my University offers a range of housing options to students - from cheap "basic studio apts." to more expensive fully furnished grad housing.

Such a system would also help retain people in Los Alamos county, bring more business, and improve conditions here. Just a thought...