The property intended to be home to the Waterlights District — the proposed mixed-use shopping and eating extravaganzorama in Pearland — has been posted for foreclosure by its main creditor, Amegy Bank. The 1.9 million-sq.-ft. development was to feature condos, luxury apartments, office buildings, retail space, restaurants, 2 hotels, a conference facility, a “water wall,” and a Venice-like “Grand Canal.”
The site, off the Shadow Creek Pkwy. exit on the west side of Hwy. 288, has been marked for more than 2 years now by a curious semicircle of David Adickes sculptures, a preview of the development’s Presidential Park and Gardens. That park was to feature giant white busts of all 38 U.S. Presidents. But unlike Adickes other presidential suite, I-45’s Mount Rush Hour just north of Downtown Houston — in which each of the sculptor’s busts rests on its own podium — in the Waterlights grouping the 7 Presidents moved to the site appear from the freeway to be buried in the earth up to their chests, somehow managing to keep their heads above the often-times-soggy land around them. Yes, it was the perfect marker for a freeway-side development buried in debt and treading quicksand just to keep itself afloat:
Boardwalk and the Spectrum LP purchased the 48-acre site in February 2007 for $5 million in cash and a $10 million bank loan, [executive director David] Goswick said. That translated to $10 per [usable] square foot.
â€œToday, the same property is only worth $4 (per square foot) to $4.50 per square foot, or approximately $5 million,” Goswick said.
. . . in February 2009, the bank rejected the developersâ€™ request to extend the loan for another year and later increased the interest rate to 18 percent, from the previous 7.5 percent, he said.
Will someone be able to bail these Presidents out before they’re, uh . . . entirely submerged?
Oooh. Maybe that’s the wrong terminology to use here. Ultimate Pearland reporter Robert Stanton continues:
Goswickâ€™s partner, Richard P. Browne, director of planning and development at Boardwalk at the Spectrum LP, put it bluntly in an e-mail.
â€œWhen Amegy Bankâ€™s parent bank (Zions Bancorporation) receives over $1.4 billion in (federal Troubled Asset Relief Program) money and can borrow money at 1.5 percent, then turn around and charge 18 percent, it is a sin and a shame. The numbers donâ€™t work anymore.”
Browne added, â€œUnfortunately, the banks stopped lending to everyone and we ran out of time.”
- WaterLights project headed for foreclosure [Ultimate Pearland]
- Previously on Swamplot: Ex-Presidents in Pearland: Heads Above the Muck