Monday, February 22, 2010

Recent News in the Charlottesville Albemarle Economic and Housing Downturn - February 2010

Last week, this blog recapped UVA, Charlottesville, Albemarle, and VDOT budget woes.  This week it's all about Patricia Kluge, Belvedere (what's that time frame and price point?), Embezzlement, Hunger (widespread), The Landmark Hotel (which will never be completed), Governor McDonnell, Embezzlement, and Biscuit Run (which is a far bigger story than anybody has reported).

1.  Real Estate Default and Foreclosure Auction: Vineyard Estates LLC, et al, has a property scheduled for foreclosure auction, which makes The Hook wonder if Patricia Kluge "has cash flow woes."  Kluge's own cash flow has nothing to do with Vineyard Estates, which is why the LLC was created--the Limited Liability Corporation is responsible for the debt, not the person who created the corporation.

Kluge, and her step-daughter spokesperson Kristin Moses Murry, however, are not using any local, regional, or national economic forecasts for short- or long-term recovery in both offering Albemarle House for $100M,  and for stating re: Vineyard Estates that they are "pursuing discussions with stronger partners who both understand the potential of these 24 lots and have the resources to help us realize it.”  Is the best "potential" for those lots developing McMansions, or for growing more grapes?

UPDATE 1  Feb. 22 Frank Hardy Realtors suing Kluge/Moses for breach of contract for listings. 
UPDATE 2 Feb. 22 9.30pm Albemarle House Asking Price Reduced by $52 Million

2. Hunger: Or how about turning those Vineyard Estates subdivision lots over to, say, Tom's Garden, to feed the working poor and impoverished?  The Thomas Jefferson and Blue Ridge Area Food Banks have seen huge increases in needs for their food and services: From The DP: Michael McKee, of the Blue Ridge bank, said "We have watched the numbers increase over time during the past decade and all indications are that there is no likelihood of decreasing unemployment or a large increase in the number of jobs available anytime soon,' McKee said. “...we’re looking at a long-term trend.” 

3.  "For Biscuit Run, What's In an Appraisal?" C-VILLE wonders.  Is C-Ville, or any other media outlet, looking in the right place for how Forest Lodge LLC, Hunter Craig, Boyd Tinsley, et al, actually recouped losses? 

4.  An apartment complex at Belvedere: it's been no secret that Hauser Homes / Stonehaus Developers have had money problems.  A solution?  Sell 16 acres to Cathcart Properties to make a "luxury apartment complex."

5.  Another Homeowner's Association Treasurer accused of Embezzlement: it's taken a few months, but the Mill Creek association thinks the number has jumped from $10k to $93k.   Less than Glenmore's Michael Comer, but still enough for prison time.  Kevin O'Connor is expected to plead guilty to some charge in May.

6.  Parts of The Landmark Hotel litigation: are ordered by Judge Edward Hogshire to arbitration.  Nevertheless, The Landmark Hotel will not be completed in 2010.  Or 2011.  Or ever.  The current wrangling is not to see that the hotel gets built, it's to see who can recoup more money, Minor or Danielson.  Recently, Halsey Minor once again got his farm out of foreclosure auction--these default filings have nothing to do with the hotel, nor do they indicate his fortune is gone.  (His fortune may be gone, sure, but cash flow management is a different animal.) 

7.  Albemarle Schools Face Massive Cuts: Due to spending and the ongoing housing downturn which is drying up property tax revenue, the budget's got to shrink: more than 40 school staff positions will be cut in Albemarle County, including many teachers. Students’ class schedules will abruptly shift. And class sizes will increase.  Read.

8.  Governor McDonnell Wants to Axe Education, too: nearly One Billion dollars, and 500 statewide layoffs, many in mental health.  Read.

9.  Cuts to City Schools: If C'ville loses state funding,  more than $1M in cuts will be necessary.  Read.

It's a great time to buy a house if only so you can hide away from the wider deterioration of western civ.

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