A new ownership group has stepped in to take its shot at steering a long-stalled Libbie Avenue development to the finish line, ending a year-long tug-of-war.
John George and David Posner, through their Libbie Guthrie Co. LLC, earlier this month took control of The Tiber, an unfinished project that has tried for three years to bring 15 high-end condos to the West End market.
The sale occurred Oct. 31, according to a Nov. 2 report from the trustee overseeing the bankruptcy of Tiber Partners LLC, the original developer of the project.
George was one of the original partners in that group and also the initial general contractor that handled construction for The Tiber, until an internal dispute, construction delays and back-and-forth suing ensued, while work came to a standstill.
In a strategic play during the dispute with his original partners, George enlisted Posner, a local businessman, to help him purchase the $6.27 million loan on the Tiber property. That leverage allowed them to push for foreclosure on the dormant property, which resulted in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the development group and, ultimately, an auction process in which George and Posner prevailed.
Reached by phone Friday, Posner said the group is already at work getting the project restarted.
“We’re excited about finally having The Tiber finished and being able to fulfill the dreams of the people who want to live there,” Posner said.
Libbie Guthrie paid total consideration for the property in the bankruptcy sale of $5.4 million. That included a noteholder credit bid by Libbie Guthrie that knocked $2.9 million off Tiber Partners’ list of debts and nearly $2 million in cash to repay deposits to The Tiber’s would-be condo buyers.
The sale documents in the court record show the unfinished property assessed by the city at $6.6 million, while an appraisal done by Colliers International pegs the current value of the property at $3.1 million
Loc Pfeifer, a Kutack Rock attorney representing Tiber Partners’ trustee, said they’ll look to quickly close out the remaining bankruptcy case. The trustee filed for approval of a structured dismissal of the case, given that there are no remaining assets to reorganize or liquidate. The request asks the court to cut the case short and disburse the collected assets, including buyers’ refunds.
Tiber Partners 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.
Unit pre-sales showed brisk interest and work began in 2013, with a plan for completion by 2015.
Boyers and the Fergussons are not part of the new ownership group.