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Dallas initiates foreclosure against Patriots Crossing development

The partially fenced $4.5 million expanse of dirt called Patriots Crossing now serves no other purpose than as a makeshift parking lot for the VA Medical Center, visible far in the background. (Staff photo Oct. 8, 2014)

The partially fenced $4.5 million expanse of dirt called Patriots Crossing now serves no other purpose than as a makeshift parking lot for the VA Medical Center, visible far in the background. (Staff photo Oct. 8, 2014)

Years of failed effort by the city of Dallas to prompt a development called Patriots Crossing near the VA Medical Center came to a halt Tuesday as the city began foreclosure proceedings against the developer in an attempt to recoup a $4.4 million city investment.

The project, unveiled in 2009 and previously called Veterans Place, planned seven acres of apartments, shops and restaurants aimed at boosting development around the hospital. Dallas paid $4.4 million to developer Yigal Lelah to acquire property for the project, but Lelah struggled to secure the rest of the financing for his build.

Six years later, the land remains untouched. Mayor Mike Rawlings announced the foreclosure at an update on his GrowSouth initiative Tuesday evening, only hours after attorneys filed it.

Recent efforts to save Patriots Crossing have included an attempted partnership with prominent developer Jack Matthews, who was involved for several months, City Manager A.C. Gonzalez said. But even he couldn’t fix the financing problems.

“We explored the possibility of adding some capacity by asking one of our local developers who has a very good track record of bringing all kinds of projects to fruition,” Gonzalez said. But: “The financing of that project just did not make sense, even after adding Jack to the process.”

It’s unclear now whether the city will recoup the millions it gave to Lelah.

Gonzalez told the Dallas Morning News editorial board Wednesday morning that the city had “tried to be a good partner,” but had exhausted its options to make Lelah’s development work.

“We are putting ourselves and the fate of that property in a bit more risky situation, in that the city might be no longer having the kind of relationship that we had in the past with that piece of property, but so be it. We need to move on and make something happen there,” he said.

The foreclosure process will allow the city to either recoup its investment or take control of the property itself.

“We’re going to get either money or land,” Gonzalez said.

If it’s the latter, the city manager emphasized that the city’s not interested in letting the property become a parking lot for the hospital, but will continue to pursue development there.

Article source: http://cityhallblog.dallasnews.com/2015/04/dallas-initiates-foreclosure-against-patriots-crossing-development.html/

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