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Oct 15, 2011 10:25 AM by Chris Welty

Court Asked to Seize Baton Rouge Development

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) - A North Carolina bank has asked a state
judge to seize the Lakes at Magnolia Trace and sell it to settle a
$6.1 million debt.
The Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/pqSLCv) construction work
on the 81-lot Baton Rouge subdivision began in 2008. Roads and
sidewalks were laid and utilities installed. Lots were priced at
$120,000-$180,000.
None of the planned upscale homes was built, and lots remain
overgrown with weeds. Residents of a nearby subdivision have
complained that the Lakes' back streets have become an illegal
dumping ground.
Branch Banking and Trust Co.'s lawsuit said Magnolia Trace LLC
has not paid property taxes on the 60-plus acre development in
three years. The bank had to pay the East Baton Rouge Parish
Sheriff's Office nearly $67,000 in delinquent taxes to redeem the
property.
Kenneth Tackett, a Realtor who marketed the subdivision until
2010, said the Lakes at Magnolia Trace was a good project when the
developers started.
"But they ended up taking too long to get it done," Tackett
said. "They had some problems, and then the economy went south."
Secretary of state records list Robert C. Farmer Jr. of Pelham,
Ala., as a company manager.
Farmer said what happened at the Lakes reflects national
patterns after the real estate bust.
"You start out with lot values of $100,000 and halfway through
the lot values drop to $50,000," Farmer said.
Branch Banking's lawsuit says Magnolia Trace signed a promissory
note for $4.5 million from Colonial Bank of Montgomery, Ala., in
February 2006. In August 2008, Colonial increased the note to $5.4
million.
In August 2009, Colonial Bank failed. The Federal Deposit
Insurance Corp. transferred its assets, including the Magnolia
Trace loan, to Branch Banking.

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