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Sonny Chops at Concerto, Looks to Move Lofts

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Back in April, developer Sonny Astani stated that prices for his Concerto development would start about $350 a square foot in the 77-unit loft building on Flower Street and $500 a square foot in the 271-unit tower at Fig and 9th streets. Having backed the loan on the project, Astani is under pressure to move units. Now he is holding a 8-hour sale on just the loft portion, on August 29th. In some cases, it looks like prices in the loft development--which is now complete--are just shy of $300 a square foot. We caught up with Astani this afternoon to talk about the sale: "Two years ago, we did this at [his downtown development] Vero, too," he said, noting the one-day sale saves on cancellation fees and the hassle of buyers dropping out. "It's a frictionless way of selling."

Meanwhile, what's going on with Corus bank, the troubled Chicago bank that backed the project--and which may be taken over by the FDIC? "Nothing has happened," said Astani. "Corus is still a valid bank, and they have been following the loan agreement and paying out on time." In fact, Astani expressed puzzlement at all the headlines Corus has received and pointed out that many, many other banks are failing, but don't get the same press attention. "Every morning I wake up and do a Google search on Corus and there’s always a rumor, but they are still there..I don't know why it's in the news so much."

Given the way that some development firms are restructuring their developments, we asked Astani if any outside investors had purchased a stake in the building. "No, it's just me," he said.

And as far as the sale, there are no one-day sales planned for the tower portion of the development, which is expected to be finished later this fall. "The tower is different," he said. "We have been showing it for three months...the urgency isn't there."

· 10 things we learned about Concerto [Curbed LA]