Metropolitan1208The aim is to boost occupancy in the luxury building, a spokeswoman says. A sign at the entrance (below) now touts lease deals. (Click to enlarge)

Red Bank's Metropolitan condo project, having failed to attract buyers both through conventional sales methods and a much-ballyhooed auction, is now renting out units.

Leasing activity at the three-story, 37-unit Wallace Street building kicked off Sunday to a "tremendous" response and "excellent rental activity," says Christa Segalini, a spokeswoman for the project.

Metro lease
A "select" number of units are for lease at monthly rates of $2,600 to $3,200, Segalini says. Leases are for one year, though exceptions may be made, she says. The Marketing Directors Inc., a Manhattan-based leasing operation, has the exclusive on the property.

The move to the rental market would appear to signal that Pyramid Properties, which developed the Metropolitan on the former site of Dorn's photo shop, is hedging against a prolonged continuation of the the battered market for real estate sales.

Segalini, though, focused more on the desire of the building's current and expected shareholder/owners "to be in a fully occupied building, and this is one way to facilitate that."

The decision, "with appropriate pricing for residences of this caliber, is to add value to this building by facilitating its full occupancy, which is an important component of ensuring a high quality of life for all of its residents," she said in an email to redbankgreen.

The developers pulled the plug on a live auction of units in December after anemic demand was shown at the minimum posted bids.

Monmouth County Multiple Listing Service records indicate four closings on sales since then, at prices ranging from $415,000 for a 1,266-square-foot fourth-floor unit to $950,000 for one of the two fourth-floor penthouses — and all at steep discounts from the sticker prices.

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