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Bidding opens for stalled West End condo project

Construction is still ongoing at the Tiber condo project. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

Construction is still ongoing at the Tiber condo project. Photos by Michael Schwartz.

RICHMOND, Va. — A stalled West End condo project is now available to the highest bidder, with a judge’s blessing.

On Wednesday, a federal bankruptcy judge approved bidding procedures for the auction of The Tiber, a high-end condo on Libbie Avenue that has become byword for frustration and delay, and the trustee for the hearing set forth details of a possible sale.

The approval was part of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case for Tiber Partners LLC, the entity formed to develop The Tiber. The company went into Chapter 11 protection in August after several Tiber condo buyers tried to force it into Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Libbie Guthrie LLC, a company formed by John K. George, who was an original partner on the project and its general contractor, has entered an asset purchase agreement as the stalking horse bidder for the auction with a $2.9 million credit bid. The agreement also calls for $1.8 million to go back to condo purchasers either in the form of cash or credit, as well as $290,000 in estate fees and about $50,000 in taxes.

As part of the agreement, Libbie Guthrie would assume the second deed of trust on the property for Cypress Court Investments LLC and release the third deed of trust for George.

Libbie Guthrie LLC owns the loan on The Tiber – a $6.27 million note originally issued by Middleburg Bank. Libbie Guthrie had tried to foreclose on The Tiber after it purchased the loan, but the effort was foiled by the bankruptcy filing.

Should other bids be submitted by the Oct. 10 deadline, an auction will be held Oct. 12 in the office of attorney Loc Pfeiffer of Kutak Rock, who is representing the trustee overseeing Tiber Partners’ bankruptcy case. The trustee is Peter J. Barrett, also of Kutak Rock.

“This is a weird situation,” Pfeiffer said. “There are a lot of bad feelings. We had to look beyond personal feelings. We had to look at it from a business perspective.”

In opening remarks made to Judge Kevin R. Huennekens, Pfeiffer said the trustee had reached out to members of the development community to help decide what would be best for all the creditors, some of whom, Pfeiffer suggested, aren’t ready for a compromise.

“We’re not builders,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re lawyers.”

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