A federal judge has given the green light to send a stalled West End condo project back into the hands of an embattled builder and his financial backer.
Judge Kevin R. Huennekens on Wednesday approved the sale of The Tiber, a condo development in the Libbie and Grove area, to Libbie Guthrie LLC – the entity controlled by John George, the builder fired from the project and one of the original developers, and David Posner, an investor who has since teamed up with George.
The approval of the sale marks a prelude to the conclusion of the bankruptcy case for Tiber Partners LLC. The group was formed in 2012 by George, Scott Boyers, and Berkeley and Jennifer Fergusson to build 15 high-end condos at the corner of Libbie and Guthrie avenues. Their plans were thwarted by construction delays, a dispute with George, and disgruntled condo purchasers before Tiber Partners went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in June.
Libbie Guthrie, which owns the $6.27 million loan on The Tiber originally issued by Middleburg Bank, was the stalking horse bidder in the auction process for the property. An auction scheduled for earlier this month was cancelled when no other bidders stepped forward.
The terms for the pending sale include a credit to Libbie Guthrie of $2.9 million toward the loan it owns for The Tiber. Additionally, Libbie Guthrie will pay $1.8 million to condo purchasers either in cash or toward the purchase of a unit, $290,000 in cash for the estate, and about $50,000 in taxes.
Loc Pfeiffer of Kutak Rock LLP represents the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy for Tiber Partners. Pfeiffer said the sale is targeted to close Oct. 31. After that, the bankruptcy will be a matter of investigating Tiber Partners’ books – a process that will take between six and 12 months.
Pfeiffer said the pending sale is a milestone for Tiber Partners’ bankruptcy case.
“That was the major role – to either sell the project or complete construction,” he said.
Neither Posner nor George responded to requests for comment. The attorney for Libbie Guthrie, Courtney Moates Paulk of Hirschler Fleischer, has said the goal is to finish what George started in 2013 when the development broke ground after delays.