Condo owners upset over rumored solution to development's hard times

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH (WMBF) - Neighbors in a luxury condo development say a possible solution to their property's hard times has them eyeing their home values.

Concerned residents of the North Beach Towers community tell WMBF News they're hearing there's a plan in the works for the new owner, Starwood Capital Group, to turn vacant units into timeshares.

A representative from Starwood Capital Group now tells WMBF News there are no plans to create timeshares.

In a letter to homeowners, one of the developers writes, "It is important to note that there will not be any noticeable changes at the property," said David Stradinger.

Horry County Register of Deeds records show the property defaulted on its mortgage under previous owners and was sold to Starwood Capital Group at the end of December.

The developer that manages the houses surrounding North Beach Towers says the single-family homes are separate from the towers and that they have never defaulted on their loan.

Real estate expert Blake Sloan says if the company were to create timeshares, property owners have a right to worry, but they shouldn't only be thinking about the negative. Sloan says there's no documented data that show timeshares lower the property value of owner-occupied units.

"I think it's definitely a reason to be concerned, but at the same time after actually seeing some data in regards to what happens when a timeshare or vacation ownership does come in there, in times like that it can actually be a benefit," Sloan said.

Sloan cited the value in having renters fill the property and attract residents who wouldn't want to live in a vacant property. He also added with proper management a timeshare venture could mean better maintenance for the entire development.

Bridgette Wall rents a house in the surrounding community and she says she understands why some owners would be concerned about possible timeshares.

"They would be concerned like anybody that heard this would be. They would be kind of leery you know. I certainly wouldn't want it if I did own," said Wall.

According to Starwood Capital Group's website the company is associated with a hotel management business, but no longer connected to Starwood Hotels.

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