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No deal on Bon Secour

Posted by Ryan Dezember, Staff Reporter
Mobile Press Register
December 03, 2008 6:20 AM

GULF SHORES -- A court-ordered auction of more than 880 acres at the foreclosed Bon Secour Village failed to yield any acceptable bids and will force lawyers to look for new
ways to dispose of the property and pare down financial losses.

The developers of the 1,000-acre project defaulted on their $20.36 million loan from Wachovia bank last year and the auction had been ordered to clear the debt, which, according to court filings, accrues interest at a rate of more than $2,600 a day.

Heralded as a $500 million town-within-a-town that would transform a swath of woods along the Intracoastal Waterway's northern shore into one of the state's most chic neighborhoods, Bon Secour Village has been mired in troubles for the last year.

Banks, Realtors and landscapers have sought to collect money that they say they're owed. Lot buyers, meanwhile, have claimed that they were tricked into overpaying, while three of the project principals have filed for bankruptcy protection and one of the five
developers has sued his partners alleging mismanagement of funds. The auction event was announced in mid-October.

The auctioneers, Tranzon Driggers, touted not only special zoning that would allow retail space, a marina and thousands of condos and single-family homes, but also the fact that
551 of the offered acres were wetlands that could be turned into tax credits if placed in conservation easements.

"We had several interested parties but no offers that qualified," said Walt Driggers of Tranzon Driggers."We're still negotiating with those parties to see if we can put together something that works."

A hearing in Mobile's federal court to review the winning bids had been scheduled for this morning but was canceled after lawyers reported that there were no deals to

The auction deadline was Nov. 19, but when no acceptable bids arrived, lawyers for the receiver, who was court-appointed to manage the property, kept it open for
another week.

"Despite the best efforts of the receiver, the receiver still has not received any qualifying bids to purchase the receivership property on terms acceptable to both the receiver and Wachovia," wrote Jennifer Harris, a lawyer for receiver Jeffrey Granger, in a Monday

Neither Harris nor Granger responded to requests for comment Tuesday. David Anderson, a lawyer for the developers, Bon Secour Village LLC, was not available for
comment Tuesday.

DuBose on Monday ordered the lawyers involved to file a new plan for the property by Dec. 15.




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