Buy a condo, get a free car

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Buy a Bluestone "luxury loft" in Cleveland Heights, and you'll get a "free" smart car.
As the real estate market tanks in the wake of the subprime mortgage crisis, ripple effects are being felt throughout the industry. Even in the ’burbs, builders are having trouble selling their wares — and their desperation is making them sound a lot like care salesmen. In Lakewood, for example, Forest City is offering Browns season tickets to buyers of its Rockport Square townhouses. And in Cleveland Heights, the first five purchasers of Bluestone “luxury lofts” will get free Smart Cars, the cute little two-seaters that look as if they belong in a Paris alley… Apparently, the idea is that even people struggling though the Depression can be persuaded to spend $217,000 on a new condo, if only you distract them with shiny trinkets. “It’s not that nothing’s selling. It’s just that you need to be creative,” explains Sarah Brewer, who’s marketing Bluestone for the Realty Corporation of America. Well, yes. You might also want to keep people from thinking too hard about what they’re buying. Both Bluestone and Rockport Square were first built by Rysar Properties — a Cleveland developer with a well-earned reputation for shoddy construction [“Things Fall Apart,” May 10, 2006]. – Lisa Rab

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