OGDEN -- Individuals who paid thousands of dollars in deposits for condominiums in the unfinished Earnshaw Building won't get their money back from the bank that bought most of the structure last week at a trustee sale.
First Community Bank, which has an office in Salt Lake City, submitted the lone bid of $3.2 million, allowing it to regain possession of 32 unfinished units in the Earnshaw Building at The Junction complex downtown. The sale was held because DE Ogden Development LLC defaulted on a $6.2 million loan obtained in 2006 from First Community Bank to construct the Earnshaw Building at 339 E. 2250 South.
First Community Bank bought five floors of the Earnshaw Building that include 28 condominiums, four office units, and parking on the second level. The office units encompass about 7,100 square feet of space.
David Earnshaw, a principal with DE Ogden Development, declined to comment on the trustee sale or the return of deposits to potential condo buyers.
However, he told the Standard-Examiner in February 2006 that he had pre-sold all but two of the units.
The condos range in size from 1,593 square feet to 3,102 square feet, Earnshaw said at the time.
The starting price for a two-bedroom unit was listed at $184,900, a three-bedroom unit was going for $239,900, and three penthouse apartments were being offered for more than $340,000 each, he said.
Bob Parks, senior vice president for First Community Bank, said he's sympathetic to those who put down deposits on the condos but added the bank isn't legally obligated to reimburse them.
"I feel really bad for them," he said. "They need to get DE Ogden Development to deal with it."
Parks' condolences offer little consolation to several individuals who say they have no hope of getting their deposits back.
"I'm sickened by all of this, but what can you do?" asked Karina Garfias.
She and her husband, Antonio, paid a $15,000 deposit to DE Ogden Development in 2006 for a two-bedroom condominium.
She said the purchase contract they signed was poorly written and didn't contain a clause allowing them to get their deposit back or list a specific date for completion of the condo.
Carlos Herbon, a principal broker with Herbon Real Estate in Ogden, said he also lost a $15,000 deposit for a two-bedroom condo.
"Here we are as Realtors and we did the worst deal of our lives," he said. "It was supposed to be such a good deal and they (the condos) were selling so quickly that we jumped in. Live and learn."
First Community Bank has also been financially hurt by DE Ogden Development, Parks said.
"What upsets me is that it's a huge loss for the bank," he said.
The bank still hopes to sell the units to a developer who will complete them.
"It's a good project that's already there," said Parks, who noted that the units are about 85 percent finished.
The purchase has no effect on Deseret Book, which is housed on the Earnshaw Building's first floor.
That floor is owned by GDP Development, which is not connected to DE Ogden Development.