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Believe it or not, there’s activity at The Vue

Back when The Vue was a condominium project, a sale was a pretty rare thing.

Only about 20 condos have ever sold in the 51-story building, which features a whopping 420 units.

While there was little demand to own a Vue condo, apparently people have no qualms about renting there.

In the roughly three weeks since the unsold condos were converted to apartments, leases have already been signed for 20 units, according to David Ravin, president and CEO of Northwood Ravin, which bought The Vue for $103 million in a foreclosure auction last month.

To some in Charlotte, it might be surprising — maybe even unbelievable — to hear that more people are moving into The Vue.

But Ravin said he isn’t surprised.

“The demand was there before,” he said. “I think people just had a hesitancy to buy. These are the first 400 units to enter the market, really, in almost two years.”

Ravin went so far as to say that he expects The Vue, which he called the tallest residential building between Manhattan and Miami, to be filled in two years.

But those who want to live in the building will have to cough up pretty steep rent payments. Ravin said rent ranges from $1,300 for the smallest apartment, which is 571 square feet, to $5,800 for a penthouse, the largest of which is 3,218 square feet.

Even the cheapest apartment in the building demands higher than Charlotte’s average rent, which, according to Charlotte-based Real Data, is $786.

Ravin, though, claims that The Vue offers features that aren’t available anywhere else in the city.

“When you get inside, the views are intriguing,” he said. “You have unobstructed views going in four directions. No one will build something like this again for 10, 20 — even 50 — years.”

According to Ravin, his company spent “a few hundred thousand” dollars in the apartment conversion, which included adding blinds and light fixtures.

Some in the real estate industry have said they are unsure whether The Vue will be a success as an apartment project. Ken Szymanski, director of the Greater Charlotte Apartment Association, has called the conversion “a business leap of faith.”

According to Charles Dalton, president of Real Data, before The Vue was turned into a rental project, there were roughly 2,000 apartments in Uptown. When The Vue became apartments, supply in Uptown grew by 20 percent.

In 2007, Chicago-based MCL Cos. bought The Vue after the original developers could not get financing for the project. In September 2009, construction on The Vue resumed, but MCL would struggle to sell condos. The Vue fell into foreclosure this year.

Although there’s no certainty over whether The Vue will be a condo project once again, Dalton said not to rule that out.

Ravin, too, isn’t eliminating the possibility that The Vue could one day be what it was originally planned as: a place for condos and only condos.

“We will deal with what the market dictates,” he said. “But these are a prime candidate for condos going back (to apartments).”

Payton Guion can be reached at [email protected].

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