Sep 1, 2009

Luxury condo has 32 stories but only one occupant

A downtown Fort Myers, Florida condo has 32 stories but only one occupant.

Victor Vangelakos lives in a luxury condominium tower on the Caloosahatchee River.

He never has to worry about the neighbors making too much noise.

There are no neighbors.

Mr. Vangelakos, his wife Cathy and their three children are the only residents in the 32-story Oasis I condo on the east edge of downtown Fort Myers.

The 45-year-old Weehawken, N.J., firefighter bought the condo from Miami-based The Related Group for $430,000 and closed on it in November. He planned to make it a vacation getaway and eventually his full-time residence when he retires in four years.

But prices have fallen hard since the real estate bubble burst in early 2006. Only a handful of those who put down deposits on the tower’s units actually closed on the deal. Those who did have swapped their Oasis I units for condos in Oasis II next door.

Vangelakos didn’t, because he was unable to convince his lender to agree to the swap.

That leaves the Vangelakos family splitting their time between New Jersey and a creepy, surreal life in the empty Oasis I.

They’re the only ones using a well-appointed clubhouse, but they can’t watch the big plasma TV because they can’t the remote controls.