PlainsCapital Bank takes over ownership of Bair Chase
The foreclosure on the 280-acre Bair Chase property is complete, as the site of a proposed residential and golf course development fell into a lender’s hands this week.Following PlainsCapital Bank’s bid on the sale at a foreclosure auction in April, Bair Chase Property LLC was unable to make good on its debt to the bank during a six-month redemption period that ended Monday. As a result, it has lost ownership of the land.Garfield County deputy public trustee Bob Slade said Bair Chase and two other entities – the holder of a second lien and the Roaring Fork Conservancy – had filed notices of intent to redeem the debt. But it remained unpaid and the property now goes to PlainsCapital. He said it’s his understanding that the bank may assign ownership of the property to a subsidiary.The Roaring Fork Conservancy holds a 54-acre conservation easement along the Roaring Fork River on the property. Executive director Rick Lofaro said the agency had hoped for an outside chance of buying the property cheap while it was in foreclosure, with the aid of some private party that would be interested in preserving much of it.Bair Chase incurred $24 million in debts associated with the property, which the county has valued at about $7 million for tax assessment purposes.The development was first conceived as Sanders Ranch in 1997. The county turned down a plan for 500 houses, an 18-hole golf course and 700,000 square feet of commercial development.Bair Chase Property bought the property in 2002 and had planned a downsized development including the golf course, 62 single-family homes and 168 multifamily units. It filed for bankruptcy protection in 2003, and later obtained loans from PlainsCapital.After foreclosing on Bair Chase, PlainsCapital bid $16.1 million on one mortgage and $501,859 on a second in April’s auction. It was the only bidder.Other debts Bair Chase racked up included more than $1 million to Gould Construction of Glenwood Springs, $1.83 million to Weitz Golf International of West Palm Beach, Fla., $127,637 to Schmueser Gordon Meyer Engineers & Surveyors in Glenwood Springs, and a total of $6.5 million to three other lenders.Bair Chase project director John Young could not be reached for comment Tuesday. After April’s auction, he had said a group of investors had been working to buy the property and pay off Bair Chase’s debts.If anyone wants to buy the property now, “that would be between the bank and the new investors at this point,” Slade said. “Bair Chase lost all their rights to the property (Monday).”Usually, Slade said, property owners being foreclosed on are given a 75-day debt redemption period. But agricultural properties are given six months, and part of the Bair Chase property is assessed by the county as agricultural land.Developers had begun earthwork on the property and razed a historic barn before work came to a halt. Lofaro said that after the condition the land was left in, the Roaring Fork Conservancy had hoped it could find a “real angel” that might be willing to buy the property and seek little return on investment so more of it could be preserved. Even under such a scenario, the purchase price probably would have been high enough to require some of the property to be developed, he said.”We had hoped to locate and work with a conservation buyer, but that was something that never panned out,” he said.Contact Dennis Webb: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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