April 11, 2008

Victor Gardens East - Empty Single Family Lots

New signs have appeared on many of Victor Gardens East's empty lots.  Now is a good time to let everyone know some of what has happened with those lots over the last few months.   To simply the explanation, I've paraphrased and quoted recent correspondence from Bill Beard, of The Beard Group and Homer Tompkins of CPDC.  Both Mr. Beard and Mr. Tomkins responded quickly to the questions I asked of them.  Their detailed explanation of the current situation is appreciated.
Background Information: - POA-Scherer & CPDC:  
POA-Scherer is the original Declarant.  It entered into agreements with the City of Hugo to build Victor Gardens.  CPDC works with POA-Scherer to develop the neighborhood.  In the last year, the Victor Gardens Community Association's Master Board and Victor Gardens' Architectural Review Committee have been staffed by CPDC employees Homer Tompkins, Shelly Tompkins, and Dave Hempel.
Background Information: - The Beard Group, Victor Gardens Mainstreet Holding, and Neighborhood Development Partners, LLC: 
"[The Beard Group] acquired the 26 lots by purchasing the sheriff’s certificate from M&I who had been one of the lenders to POA-Scherer." - Bill Beard
"The Beard Group, Inc. technically doesn’t have any involvement with Victor Gardens.  Development Principals of the Beard Group Inc. formed a single purpose entity named Victor Gardens Mainstreet Holding, LLC (“VGMH”) and VGMH acquired 26 developed single family lots in Victor Gardens.  VGMH then hired Neighborhood Development Partners, LLC (also owned by the same individuals who own VGMH) to market the developed lots to builders." - Bill Beard
Question:  Is Victor Gardens Mainstreet Holdings responsible for completing unfinished projects such as postal stations, trail construction, completion of roadways, etc.?
Answer:  "As far as we know POA-Scherer is still the developer, still owns unsold lots within the development, is not in default of any of its agreements with the City and has all the responsibilities that it had prior to VGMS’s purchase.  I would presume (but don’t know) that POA-Scherer is responsible for all those items where Developer/Builder is listed on your PDF attachment. "  - Bill Beard
"As a part of [The Beard Group's] acquisition deal with M&I we had to replace the letter of credit that one of M&I’s correspondent banks had in place.  To us it was just apart of the purchase price we had to pay for the 26 lots.  We did not assume any of the underlying obligations that are governed by the Development Agreement between the City and POA-Scherer.  If POA-Scherer defaults then the City can call the LOC and use the proceeds to complete the work that the LOC was securitizing.  If POA-Scherer doesn’t default then the City will return the LOC to us when POA-Scherer completes its obligations and the work is complete and accepted by the City." - Bill Beard
Mark's note: Bryan Bear, Hugo's Community Development Director and CPDC's Homer Tompkins have confirmed this.  As the Declarant, POA-Scherer is still responsible for the completion of these items.  The City of Hugo holds letters of credit (LOC) as a way of ensuring the development's projects are completed.  When a developer completes scheduled projects, it typically asks the City of Hugo to reduce the amount that is held by the LOC.  After all of the projects are complete, the LOC would typically be returned to the developer.  If the developer does not complete the projects, the City of Hugo will be able to complete the projects using the funds set aside in the LOC.  
Question:  What are the marketing plans for the remaining lots in Victor Gardens East?
Answer:  A few days ago, Neighborhood Development Partners LLC posted lot identification signs on Victor Gardens Mainstreet Holding's 26 lots in Victor Gardens East.
"Neighborhood Development Partners, LLC is actively working on selling the 26 lots.  In a foreclosure sale there is a period of time when certain parties have the right to redeem a property.  This period of time is called the redemption period.  The redemption period following our purchase of the Sheriff’s certificate has just run out and we will be resigning the property shortly.  We choose not to actively promote the lots during the redemption period." - Bill Beard
"We are also very concerned about the future of VG and will be strong advocates to make sure VG’s rules and regulations are uniformly enforced.  We knew going in that VG’s rules haven’t been enforced uniformly.  We hope and expect that these days are over.  We have made a significant investment in VGs and the way to maximize that investment is to make sure VG stays VG and doesn’t become something else.  We expect that any builder who acquires a lot from us will have to meet the standards that are in place for the VG community.  I know that there are many existing homeowners who say it’s ok to have different standards as long as they are insulated by our lots and but we will have to meet the standards.  Please know we will actively oppose that thinking.  The builders who buy our lots and the families who buy these homes deserve to have the same standards you all now enjoy on all sides of their homes not just the homes to the west."  "I appreciate your openness to dialogue and the opportunity to be transparent about our intentions.  Please don’t ever hesitate to contact me should you ever have any questions or comments. "    - Bill Beard
Question:  What is the status of the future phase areas, and the 3 lots in VG East that were preliminarily platted (near the future connection of Garden Way and Val Jean Blvd). "As you may know, the Beard Group bought the 26 lots in VG East but not the 3 lots your addressing in some of your questions.  Those are owned by Alliance Bank and they have no plans at present to bring any more lots on the market in Victor Gardens." - Homer Tompkins