Loan on stalled Libbie project changes hands

The Tiber remains unfinished and has had a sign promoting one unit remaining for some time.

The Tiber remains unfinished and has had a sign promoting one unit remaining for some time.

With construction stalled and future residents still waiting for their homes to be completed, the saga of a high-end Richmond condo project has taken yet another twist.

The loan on the long-delayed Tiber development at Libbie and Guthrie avenues has been purchased from its original lender by a group that includes John K. George, who is part owner of the project’s development group and owns the general contracting firm that was fired from the construction site after delays and disputes with his partners.

George and David Posner, through Libbie Guthrie Company LLC, last month purchased the $6.27 million loan on The Tiber from Middleburg Bank, which issued the note in 2013.

Libbie Guthrie’s registered agent Courtney Paulk of Hirschler Fleischer confirmed George and Posner are members of the LLC.

In 2012, George, Scott Boyers, Jennifer Fergusson and Berkeley Fergusson formed Tiber Partners LLC to develop the Tiber. Prices for the 15 units ranged from $575,000 to $1.2 million, and nine of the 15 units sold before John K. George & Company broke ground in 2013.

The project was to be delivered to residents by 2015, but remains unfinished with the delays coming to a head late last year when John K. Georges & Co. sued Tiber’s developers of wrongfully terminating it from the job and demanded $1 million in damages and a court order to allow it to finish the work.

Tiber Partners LLC responded with a lawsuit of its own, filing a counterclaim earlier this year, arguing that the contractor was incapable of completing the job. Tiber Partners has since hired a new general contractor to continue work on the site.

As the lawsuits get worked out, people who put down deposits on the unfinished Tiber condos have filed liens and lawsuits.

Enter Libbie Guthrie, which hopes to finally finish the Tiber.

“Libbie Guthrie’s hope is to see construction of the Tiber completed as soon as possible,” Paulk said in an email.

What’s unclear is why Middleburg was willing to sell the loan and whether the note is in any form of default. Large commercial loans typically can include covenants related to completion dates, construction milestones and other provisions that, if not met, can lead to technical default even if regular loan payments are being made.

It’s also unclear what this twist means for Boyers and the Fergusons’ stake in the project going forward and whether George and Posner might have the ability to foreclose on the property to gain full control.

“Tiber Partners has not yet met with us to discuss the status of the project,” Paulk said in her email.

Boyers didn’t return a call and email by press time. George also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The Tiber remains unfinished and has had a sign promoting one unit remaining for some time.

The Tiber remains unfinished and has had a sign promoting one unit remaining for some time.

With construction stalled and future residents still waiting for their homes to be completed, the saga of a high-end Richmond condo project has taken yet another twist.

The loan on the long-delayed Tiber development at Libbie and Guthrie avenues has been purchased from its original lender by a group that includes John K. George, who is part owner of the project’s development group and owns the general contracting firm that was fired from the construction site after delays and disputes with his partners.

George and David Posner, through Libbie Guthrie Company LLC, last month purchased the $6.27 million loan on The Tiber from Middleburg Bank, which issued the note in 2013.

Libbie Guthrie’s registered agent Courtney Paulk of Hirschler Fleischer confirmed George and Posner are members of the LLC.

In 2012, George, Scott Boyers, Jennifer Fergusson and Berkeley Fergusson formed Tiber Partners LLC to develop the Tiber. Prices for the 15 units ranged from $575,000 to $1.2 million, and nine of the 15 units sold before John K. George & Company broke ground in 2013.

The project was to be delivered to residents by 2015, but remains unfinished with the delays coming to a head late last year when John K. Georges & Co. sued Tiber’s developers of wrongfully terminating it from the job and demanded $1 million in damages and a court order to allow it to finish the work.

Tiber Partners LLC responded with a lawsuit of its own, filing a counterclaim earlier this year, arguing that the contractor was incapable of completing the job. Tiber Partners has since hired a new general contractor to continue work on the site.

As the lawsuits get worked out, people who put down deposits on the unfinished Tiber condos have filed liens and lawsuits.

Enter Libbie Guthrie, which hopes to finally finish the Tiber.

“Libbie Guthrie’s hope is to see construction of the Tiber completed as soon as possible,” Paulk said in an email.

What’s unclear is why Middleburg was willing to sell the loan and whether the note is in any form of default. Large commercial loans typically can include covenants related to completion dates, construction milestones and other provisions that, if not met, can lead to technical default even if regular loan payments are being made.

It’s also unclear what this twist means for Boyers and the Fergusons’ stake in the project going forward and whether George and Posner might have the ability to foreclose on the property to gain full control.

“Tiber Partners has not yet met with us to discuss the status of the project,” Paulk said in her email.

Boyers didn’t return a call and email by press time. George also didn’t respond to requests for comment.

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John Freeland Peter
John Freeland Peter
6 years ago

What a mess! Sounds like a lot of unnecessary drama and plotting. I feel for the prospective tenants though. Who would want to be a part of this fiasco?

Jeff Davis
Jeff Davis
6 years ago

As someone that has developed numerous properties around the country I don’t know what these Tiber people were thinking. You NEVER fire a contractor half way through a project. Even if there’s a dispute you fix it. No other contractor wants to touch a half finished project. This whole thing has been handled very poorly. Shame on the developers. It looks like this new group is prepared to finish the project and save the day. I’m sure the buyers have to be happy with this new development.

Alycia Reid
Alycia Reid
6 years ago

Jeff and John are right. It seems that the developers have mishandled the project. Thank goodness the builder may be able to finish it. It would have been a shame if the project went into bankruptcy and all of the buyers lost their money.