600+ acres up for auction in Midlothian

Almost half of a long-stalled massive planned development in Midlothian will be up for grabs today.

A 622-acre chunk of the Roseland development is scheduled for auction on the steps of the Chesterfield County Courthouse beginning at 12:15 p.m. Monday.

Franklin Federal Savings Bank, the largest lender on the project, is foreclosing on the land, which is collateral for the $20 million it is owed from the developers.

The Glen Allen-based bank’s push for foreclosure comes months after the two LLCs that own the bulk of Roseland’s 1,300 acres reached an agreement with their many lenders to emerge from a two-year-long bankruptcy.

That reorganization plan calls for G.B.S. Holding and Roseland Village LLC to turn over about 800 acres to creditors. The remaining 500 acres will stay in the hands of Roseland’s original developers, Buddy Sowers and his son Casey Sowers.

The lenders then have option to take back the land either through foreclosure or by the developers turning over the deed in lieu of foreclosure.

A screen grab of the Roseland website.

A screen grab of the Roseland website.

Franklin Federal, which had previously fought in bankruptcy court for the ability to foreclose, is the first of Roseland’s lenders to take action on their collateral.

“This is an expected step as part of the confirmed plan,” Casey Sowers said in an e-mail last week. “Franklin [Federal] is doing exactly what it was entitled to do in the reorganization plan that was confirmed in December.”

The foreclosure auction will allow Franklin Federal to test the waters and see what kind of interest potential buyers might have. Foreclosure will also likely allow the bank clear title of the land.

Franklin Federal's headquarters. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

Franklin Federal’s headquarters at Innsbrook. (Photo by Michael Schwartz)

Lynne Tickle, a senior vice president at Franklin Federal who is handling the foreclosure process, said the bank would not comment on the level of interest it has received from suitors leading up to the auction.

“We felt that this was the best business decision or course of action in this case,” Tickle said of the choice to foreclose.

She said the bank would not comment on what price might be set for an opening bid.

Roseland’s creditors, which include several local banks, have waited years to be repaid the more than $40 million borrowed on the project.

Roseland was proposed in 2008 by as a colossal mixed-use planned community that would have more than 1.5 million square feet of commercial space and more than 5,600 housing units. The land sits south of Route 288 at the intersection with Woolridge Road in Chesterfield County, near Old Hundred and Otterdale roads.

The two Roseland LLCs went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 when lenders didn’t renew certain loans, and the project was threatened with foreclosure.

Other lenders on Roseland include Central Virginia Bank, which is owed about $6.2 million. Essex Bank is owed almost $6 million. BB Hunt LLC, an entity tied to developer HHHunt, is owed $5.5 million. Paragon Bank is owed $2 million. Virginia Commonwealth Bank is owed $1.7 million.

The properties up for auction Monday include parcels at:

16410 Scottwood Road
16408 Scottwood Road
1132 Old Hundred Road
16300 Scottwood Road
16301 Scottwood Road
16407 Scottwood Road
1222 Old Hundred Road
2141 Old Hundred Road
915 Otterdale Road
2151 Old Hundred Road
2143 Old Hundred Road

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