Swing Bridge Project Now Being Foreclosed On; Judicial Sale Of Property Held May 15
The property of the luxury condo developer Tom Scott who sued the City of Douglas in 2008 alleging numerous claims, including the city acted illegally when it issued a stop-work order, and who with much fervor declared the development would provide the general public access to otherwise inaccessible parts of the Kalamazoo River via a maintained boardwalk, is now going through foreclosure.
The development is located east of Blue Star Highway bridge and east of Union Street with frontage on the Kalamazoo River.
The Boardwalk at Swing Bridge development was discussed at Monday’s Douglas City Council meeting when Douglas City Manager Bill LeFevere provided an update, attempting to answer council questions of what the city could do about a development that has been stopped in its tracks now for more than a year and a half.
The council also noted the 700-foot-long, 6-foot-wide boardwalk, a public benefit gained through a 2009 legal agreement between the city and the developer, was dirty, unmaintained and not accessible at the southwest end.
Originally, 29 residential units were planned, but that was cut back to 16 per city zoning regulations.
Previously, city officials announced that one parcel of the Swing Bridge property had already reverted to the ownership of Macatawa Bank.
On Monday, LeFevere provided documentation showing the rest of the 15 parcels were in the process of foreclosure by judicial sale, as posted by the Allegan County Circuit Court on March 17, 2014.
Judicial foreclosure entails the sale of mortgaged property under the orders and control of a court. The proceeds of the sale first go to satisfy the mortgage, then to satisfy other lien holders, and finally to the borrower if there is any money left.
The bank or other lenders, by means of a judicial foreclosure sale,
assure themselves they are proceeding carefully so as to include all affected parties in the case.
“It’s possible all the property has gone back to the bank, but right now we don’t have that knowledge,” LeFevere told the council, noting the city doesn’t yet know the result of the judicial sale, which took place May 15.
“Realistically, we could have a whole new contractor coming in with the existing consent judgment if they bought the parcels,” noted Douglas Council Member Greg Harvath.
In either case, the council asserted Monday the Swing Bridge property is not currently in compliance with local ordinances and called on the city’s zoning administrator to post a notice telling the owner - whoever that may now be - informing them of that fact.
“I am sure the council is fully behind cutting the weeds and maintaining the boardwalk,” said Douglas Mayor Jim Wiley.
In 2011, the city explored the possibility of purchasing the Swing Bridge property and converting it to a public recreational and community park following a year of development stagnation.
Nothing, however, came of that effort and that is when Scott stepped in to develop the property.
Developer Scott did not return the Local Observer ‘s calls for comment.