Will Condo Builder the Related Group Buy Corus Bank?

You have to hand it to the Related Group. No matter how bad the economy gets or how many ghost towers dot the skyline, the Miami real estate giant keeps looking for ways to make a buck. Here's the current philosophy: We can't pay our own bills. But hey, let's buy more stuff and hope for the best!

According to the Wall Street Journal, Related Companies of New York is now trying to buy the assets of a bank that impaled itself on South Florida's condo market. Corus Bank lent money to at least 16 projects in South Florida, including the nearly empty Tao Sawgrass in Sunrise and Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale. Now that Corus is on the brink of failure, vultures such as Related are hovering.

If the deal goes through, the Related Group (which has strong ties to Related Companies) will finish building Corus' condo projects in South Florida. This would be quite a feat, considering that Related is already struggling to fill its own Florida condo buildings -- Icon Brickell in Miami is mostly empty, and CityPlace South Tower in West Palm Beach is in foreclosure. Indeed, Related's building frenzy played a big role in creating the glut on the condo market that led to the current crisis.

How can it possibly tackle the albatrosses left behind by Corus? Isn't that a little like Philip Morris selling nicotine patches?

Calls to the Related Group were not immediately returned. But it's safe to assume the bigwigs are out celebrating their impending windfall.


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