» Subscribe Today!
More of what you want to know.
The Daily News
X

Forgot your password?
TDN Services
Research millions of people and properties [+]
Monitor any person, property or company [+]

Skip Navigation LinksHome >
VOL. 115 | NO. 215 | Monday, December 17, 2001

Print | Front Page | Email this story | Comments ()
Foreclosure notice falls on Hickory Ridge Mall Foreclosure notice falls on Hickory Ridge Mall By SUE PEASE The Daily News Its 12:15 p.m. on a Thursday in the food court at Hickory Ridge Mall and it appears to be business is usual. Customers are lining up at food counters to order their meals and tables are filling up with diners. Because Christmas is less than two weeks away, there is an energetic buzz filling the walkways in the Winchester Road mall. While the center is not overflowing with shoppers, it is busy enough for a mid-week lunch hour. Little do customers or storeowners know a foreclosure notice had been filed on the property the day before. The storefronts are filled with merchandise, and according to managers, business is steady. When asked how business is faring, Heather Bonina, assistant manager at Icing, a sister store to Claires Boutique, said it was great. "Its very steady." When school lets out later in the afternoon, the mall will be packed, she said. Walking the mall halls indicate most store bays are full. There are more than 100 stores in the mall, and only 10 vacant storefronts. No matter how good business seems to be, underlying reasons for the foreclosure remain a mystery. Both Margaret Lannen, Hickory Ridge general manager, and James C. Warner, the attorney handling the foreclosure case, referred questions about the notice to Wells Fargo Bank, the mortgage lender listed in the notice. The bank was not able to shed light on the foreclosure either. "We cant really comment about the piece that ran, because right now its a proprietary and confidential situation. Our policy is we dont comment on behalf of our client," said Tricia Link, Wells Fargo senior media relations manager. The bank referred to the foreclosure notice as the only public information available. It states the original mortgage filed in 1979 had a principal debt of $26.4 million. Heitman Retail Properties of Chicago owns the 842,000-square-foot shopping center, which is anchored by Sears, Dillards and Goldsmiths. Repeated calls to Heitman for comment were not returned. According to the companys Web site, it is a full-service real estate management firm founded in 1966. Initially, the company focused on servicing whole loans on behalf of pension funds, life insurance companies and commercial banks and in 1974 expanded its business to include real estate investment management. In 1989, Heitman began managing portfolios of publicly traded real estate securities, according to information on Heitmans Web site. One might jump to the conclusion that because a property is served a foreclosure notice its business is degrading. However, there could be a myriad of reasons a commercial property would go into foreclosure, said attorney Bruce L. Feldbaum. The Hickory Ridge Mall and its owner are not clients of Feldbaums nor did the attorney know any information about the specific property or foreclosure. However, he did say there are typical reasons a property owner might initiate foreclosure proceedings. One reason for a property foreclosure is the owner is delinquent in the payment of the mortgage note, which is secured by the property, he said. Other typical reasons are failure to pay real estate taxes or failure to maintain insurance. There is also a legal term called "waste," meaning a property is not being maintained and the value of the collateral is being diminished because of the property condition. Another case scenario in foreclosure could be a "non-recourse" case where in the original agreement, the mortgage lender didnt have claim on the money owed but only the property. If a large company wants to let go of a property that is not performing, for example, the owner claims foreclosure, loses the property, but it is not required to pay off the loan, because ownership of the property reverts to the bank. According to the foreclosure notice, the sale of the property will occur at noon Jan. 2 at the county courthouse. The sale will go to the highest bidder. More than likely, nobody would buy it, because the mortgage lender often attends a sale and bids the amount owed. That type of transaction is called a credit-bid, Feldbaum said. However, the foreclosure sale might not even happen, because there are again a number of actions that could happen before the date. "Anything and everything could happen," Feldbaum said. A company could file bankruptcy and all proceedings are then frozen, or an owner could bring the account current, or refinance and pay the loan off. Or, maybe involved parties could negotiate and postpone the sale. Some commercial brokers provided speculation into the foreclosure notice. Whatever the case may be for this particular property, location and economy should be figured into the equation. "I do believe the economy has slowed and your Class B and C properties will be the first to move in a foreclosure as opposed to the Class A properties," said Tucker Beck, a Crye-Leike commercial real estate broker. The Hickory Ridge Mall would be characterized as a Class B property, Beck said. "Youve got a Class B submarket in a Class B economy probably bringing in a Class B or C, evidently, income. So somebody could write it off and be done with it a lot easier than they could be in the long haul." Beck said the Hickory Hill commercial market has moved from Class A to Class B within the last two years. The area was annexed by the city and was moved inside city limits in 2000.
RECORD TOTALS DAY WEEK YEAR
PROPERTY SALES 57 57 1,266
MORTGAGES 48 48 964
FORECLOSURE NOTICES 10 10 161
BUILDING PERMITS 85 85 2,836
BANKRUPTCIES 34 34 652
BUSINESS LICENSES 10 10 286
UTILITY CONNECTIONS 0 0 0
MARRIAGE LICENSES 0 0 0