Charlottesville Breaking News
When the winery founded by Patricia Kluge was on the block in December, no one came close to the bank's $19-million minimum. But at the upcoming April 7 absolute auction, someone will go home with a winery– or part of one.
An absolute auction means the highest bidder gets the property, with no minimum, and the owner can't bid on it, explains Bill Shmidheiser, attorney for Farm Credit, which is trying to recoup its $35-million loan to Kluge.
"It assures buyers the property will be sold at the highest price," he says. "The public knows the owners are not testing the waters."
The 901-acre Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards has been divvied up into six tracts.
"As a whole, it's a big bite," explains Shmidheiser.
But at least one high-profile potential buyer– The Donald– may think splitting the property is a mistake.
"We might be interested in buying the whole thing," says Jason Greenblatt, general counsel for Donald Trump's empire. "I think they're destroying it by splitting it. And I think they're harming the Virginia wine industry by doing so."
Trump emerged as a player in the liquidation of Kluge's ass...
As snow was falling over the county early Sunday morning, gunfire rang out just off of Hydraulic Road, and a woman became the year's first victim of a shooting in Albemarle. Charged in the incident is John Wesley Morris, a 53-year-old Charlottesville resident, who reportedly fled the scene and was captured in his vehicle in the Free Union/Earlysville area less than two hours later.
The victim, an unnamed woman, received a gunshot wound to her neck, but her injuries were described by an Albemarle County Police Department release as "non life-threatening." The release indicates that the March 27 incident occurred around 1:40am in the 1800 block of Inglewood Drive with the arrest around 3:05am on Buck Mountain Ford Road.
Published reports suggest that Morris is no stranger to violence. In 1985 he was convicted of the double homicide of Ricky Clements and Monte Wanless at the Pantops-area Hardee's restaurant. He was sentenced to 46 years, and according to the Department of Corrections, released in January 2008.
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...