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BentleyForbes Loses The Las Colinas Four Seasons; the Lenders Themselves
 Buy Property at Auction for $122 million

By Steve Brown, The Dallas Morning NewsMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Junu 2, 2010 --Lenders finally made good on threats to foreclose on the posh Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas.

Mortgage holders sold the 431-room luxury Irving golf course hotel, conference center and spa at auction Tuesday morning. The foreclosure comes seven months after lenders first posted the 400-acre property for sale after the owners missed payments on the more than $175 million in debt.

During that time, hotel owner BentleyForbes of California continued to negotiate with servicing companies which represented owners of the securitized debt.

The lenders themselves bought the property at auction for $122 million, said George Roddy, president of Addison-based Foreclosure Listing Service.

"They started the bidding at $110 million and there was another bidder so they went up," Roddy said.

Typically the lenders at foreclosure auctions acquire the property in all but a small number of cases where outside investors purchase the real estate.

The Las Colinas Four Seasons -- which had original debt of $183 million -- is the largest North Texas property to be foreclosed on in more than two decades.

The hotel is the home of the annual Byron Nelson Championship golf tournament.

BentleyForbes officials said Tuesday that after 18 months of negotiations they were able to work out a new loan agreement for the Four Seasons with some of the lenders. But not all the complicated debt holders would go along with the proposed modification.

The Los Angeles-based investors bought the property at the top of the market four years ago and invested another $60 million in improvements in the hotel.

"BentleyForbes remains certain that its past management efforts and capital investments in the property since originally taking ownership in 2006 have positioned the resort for long-term success," BentleyForbes chief operating officer Tony Manos said in an e-mail. "As the hospitality market recovers from the challenges of the current market realities, the Four Seasons Dallas will be able to fully leverage the extensive improvements to the golf courses, guest rooms, hotel lobby and guest amenities implemented and executed by BentleyForbes on behalf of the property."

Despite the change in ownership, guests at the hotel are unlikely to notice a difference, general manager Michael Newcombe said.

"Our day to day business operations remain unaffected," he said. "Indeed we are very encouraged by the strong demand for hotel rooms and events in North Texas."

The Four Seasons was the largest of more than 250 commercial properties with a total of almost $880 million in loans scheduled for foreclosure sale Tuesday in Dallas, Tarrant, Collin and Denton counties.

Usually less than half of the properties are actually foreclosed each month as borrowers and lenders continue to negotiate.

During the first six months of 2010, commercial property foreclosure postings in North Texas have jumped 58 percent from the same time last year, according to Foreclosure Listing Service.

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Copyright (c) 2010, The Dallas Morning News

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