Post Falls Landing auction rescheduled

Multi-use project to be sold to highest bidder Oct. 8 - barring delays

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The Post Falls Landing property is scheduled to go to auction on October 8.

POST FALLS - Post Falls Landing is back on the auction block.

The multi-use development along Spokane Street and the Spokane River - once billed as the future anchor of the city center, but which has sputtered for the past 11 years - is slated to be sold to the highest bidder on Oct. 8 at the Kootenai County Courthouse.

An auction was also slated last December until developer Harry Green filed Chapter 11 corporate bankruptcy the morning of the sale.

The bankruptcy filing canceled the sale, but the bankruptcy was dismissed this month in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Coeur d'Alene by Chief Bankruptcy Judge Terry L. Myers.

The dismissal allowed Liberty Bankers Life Insurance Company, a creditor on the project, to proceed with foreclosure on the 33-acre site near the Post Falls Dam.

The future of the site remains cloudy, pending any bids at the auction and the possibility that Green could file another bankruptcy since an earlier court ruling said he created and controls multiple entities within the development.

According to the notice for the auction, the amount owed on the loan for the property is $7.58 million, plus an additional $1.6 million in interest and late charges.

City officials say there have been inquiries, including from Liberty, about what it would take to further develop the property, but how many firms interested in bidding won't be determined until the auction.

"(Liberty) would love to sell to a developer, but does have the knowledge to develop if need be," said Shelly Enderud, interim city administrator. "At this point, it really is a wait-and-see what happens. They do not anticipate any real interest until they obtain the property."

The foreclosure process could take up to four months.

Jim Lehr of Liberty couldn't be reached for comment on Monday. Green and the law firm of Lukins and Annis, which represents Liberty, have declined to comment during the process.

Terry Werner, Post Falls public works director, said some of the Post Falls Landing site is ready to be developed, including along the river near the condominiums and along Spokane Street. Other parcels need to be subdivided into lots.

He said developers could continue with a similar plan that Green had or propose a different layout on some of the property. Some infrastructure work has already been completed through the urban renewal process.

The Landing has been in the works for more than a decade, but only two condo buildings and the marina have been built. Retail shops, a hotel, an amphitheater and more residential units are also part of the plan.

Len Crosby, a commercial real estate lender who has followed the Post Falls Landing case and is a member of the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce's Local Issues Committee, said he believes there will be additional bankruptcy filings and foreclosure delays as a result.

However, any delays with each successive bankruptcy shouldn't be as long as the first bankruptcy, he said.

Crosby said Post Falls has a lot of vacant commercial land that has city services, which may make the site a tough sell.

"An opportunistic development group with a strong capital base or access to a strong financial partner might take a run at the property, but only if they could acquire it for a price significantly below current market to make the financial risk worthwhile," he said.

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