Did we mess up the bagels that badly? Did a reporter get mauled by an 85-year-old practicing parallel parking on I-95 last season? Why won't the New York Times let South Florida suffer in peace?
First, there was the video of a wrinkled Sunrise Lakes diva rapping about her health care reform fears, then an article dubbing Hollywood the poster child for Florida's dismal economy. This week, the Times turned its critical pen on Tao Sawgrass, the near-empty condo development in Sunrise that was financed by the now-faltering Corus Bank. The latest article calls Tao "a soaring monument to the great condominium bust."
It's true. Tao's ghost towers are an embarrassing symbol of the condo boom, and the heady days when Sunrise leaders believed the edge of the Everglades was the perfect place to build a luxury high-rise. Here at New Times, we devoted a cover story to Tao and other condo tales of woe.
And yes, we know Chicago-based Corus dug its own grave by giving construction loans to Tao, Trump International Hotel & Tower in Fort Lauderdale, and many other doomed South Florida projects.
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But here's the big difference between the Times reporters who write these depressing stories and well, the rest of us. We live here. They get the dramatic headlines. We get the plummeting property values, soaring unemployment rate, and cuts in government services. Whether or not we participated in the condo madness, we all suffer the consequences.
And it looks like we have plenty more suffering to do. As the Times notes:
"The failure of Corus would cost an already strained Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation billions. It would also underscore the wave of troubled commercial real estate loans now threatening to crash down on much of the American banking industry. Construction and land loans are now the biggest problem for hundreds of deeply troubled lenders and pose far greater dangers than commercial loans or home mortgages, according to Foresight Analytics, a banking industry research firm."
Hmm. So we're looking at a Foreclosure Crisis Part 2, The Construction Loan Edition? Fabulous. Send a postcard when it's over, please.