Upper Bundoran: Manor house under foreclosure
Another grand Albemarle house is headed toward the auction block. Upper Bundoran, the house built by the son of the man who built Scott Stadium, is under foreclosure and will be sold on the courthouse steps April 18.
The 6,500-square-foot Georgian manor on 55 acres is part of the Bundoran Farm "preservation development," but its developer insists the rest of project is not in trouble.
"That's completely separate financing and a separate lot," says Robert H. Baldwin Jr., general manager of Edge Valley Preservation LLC, the company developing Bundoran Farm. "Foreclosures are never good. We take them very seriously."
Royal Bank of Canada is calling its $3.1 million credit line on Upper Bundoran, which has been listed for sale for $2.6 million. "It's underwater," acknowledges Baldwin.
The plan for the 2,300-acre Bundoran Farm is to keep most of its acreage under conservation easement as pasture, forest, and orchards, and to plant 108 residential lots in the middle of that. "Tax credits are not part of our plan," say Baldwin of the popular land preservation perk used by some developers, such as Biscuit Run's, to mitigate investment losses.
Bundoran Farm sales have picked up, with 17 lots recently sold. "We suffered like everybody else," says Baldwin. "For a year and a half, we didn't make a single sale. We're very encouraged."
He's not concerned that Wells Fargo, which financed the rest of the project, will pull the plug in the wake of the Royal Bank of Canada foreclosure. "Wells Fargo has been fully aware of everything we do and that Upper Bundoran was on the market," says Baldwin. "This is not coming as a surprise to them."
That was not the case for Patricia Kluge and Bill Moses. When Farm Credit called its $34.8 million loan on Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard, creditors Sonabank and Bank of America followed suit, auctioning off Kluge's Vineyard Estates subdivision and Albemarle House, respectively.
Fred Scott's parents bought Bundoran Farm in 1940, and built Upper Bundoran. He remembers moving into it in 1952 when he was 12 years old. "Mom stayed there until a couple of years ago," says Scott, who lives in the 1830-built Lower Bundoran.
"The project out here has done pretty well–- they've sold lots of lots," says Scott, who sold the farm in 2006 for $31 million. Qroe Preservation, along with partners Celebration Associates, Crosland, and the Spring Company, is developing the farm as Edge Valley Preservation LLC.
The project hit a tragic setback in 2006, when an airplane carrying Qroe founder Robert H. Baldwin and associate David Brown crashed in the fog on the farm, unable to find the landing strip.
That was followed by a real estate collapse. "It's been a long haul since 2006," says Bob Baldwin, son of the Qroe founder. "But we think the project is solid."