Need an office building, apartment complex, condominium, hotel or maybe a bowling alley or exotic car dealership? Call the government.
How 'bout a bed-and-breakfast resort? A half-million-dollar luxury yacht? A wild animal park? A wine store? A restaurant, or even a livestock ranch?Yup, Uncle Sam's got what you're looking for.
As savings and loans have failed and been taken over by federal regulators, much of the property and perks behind all those bad loans has ended up in the hands of the government, which has become one of the Southwest's biggest landlords.
In all, the Federal Savings and Loan Insurance Corp. currently has $7.65 billion worth of received assets.
Some of the millions of square feet of living and working space is for sale; some is simply being held back until the Southwest real estate market improves.
Some of it is already built, rented and occupied. A lot of it is vacant and abandoned and may never sell. Empty office buildings are called "see-throughs." A few abandoned apartment complexes are referred to as "S&L slums."
Vernon Savings and Loan, a high-flying thrift whose failure has cost the FSLIC $1.3 billion, had $2.1 billion worth of assets. Right now, the government is offering part of that loot - 101 former Vernon assets valued at $600 million, said Larry Akins, who's handling the Vernon portfolio.
The offerings include former Vernon owner Don Dixon's $4 million exotic car dealership in La Jolla, Calif., as well as the "High Spirits," a 112-foot luxury yacht that is a sister ship to the former presidential yacht "Sequoia."
The FSLIC and the agency set up to help dispose of much of the property, the Federal Asset Disposition Association, each publish monthly catalogues with all the stuff that's on the block.
In addition to the standard condos, apartments, strip shopping centers and office buildings, there's an aircraft hangar, a Houston convenience story, a truck terminal and a medical building or two.
"Most of it is good quality, attractive stuff," Akins said.
It's not all in Texas, of course. Wild Bill's Motel in Carson City, Nev., is for sale, as is a Palm Springs, Calif., guest ranch, a non-operating health club in Mandeville, La., Westwood Bowling in Norman, Okla., a Baton Rouge, La., water park and the Choice Restaurant in Memphis, Tenn.
The FSLIC even has a showroom in Dallas decorated with glossy wall-size slides of the spoils of government bailouts. The 13-story building housing the office is for sale, of course: probably a steal at $12 million.