MANATEE — The expansion of Heritage Harbour, once on hold, now is in legal limbo.
A bank wants to foreclose on a former dairy farm that was the linchpin of plans to complete the large mixed-use project at Interstate 75 and State Road 64, court records show.
Branch Banking & Trust Co., also known as BB&T, contends Heritage Harbour Development LLC defaulted on a $10.5 million revolving line of credit secured by the former Moore’s Dairy site. The North Carolina bank also seeks a court-appointed receiver for the 288-acre parcel at 112 Upper Manatee River Road NE.
BB&T’s suit, filed Aug. 30 in Manatee County Circuit Court, also names U.S. Home Corp., Lennar Corp. and the Heritage Harbour Master Association as defendants because they may have an interest in the property. U.S. Home, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lennar, is Heritage Harbour’s original master developer.
Attorneys for the bank and Heritage Harbour Development did not return telephone calls Tuesday. A Lennar spokesman did not respond to e-mailed questions, and a Lennar executive who serves as the association’s president did not return a message left on his voice mail.
Heritage Harbour Development paid $8.66 million for the dairy site in January 2005, property records show.
At the same time, the developer obtained the construction credit line from Colonial Bank, which later went into federal receivership. BB&T acquired the loan in an asset purchase from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
In its suit, BB&T said Heritage Harbour Development missed payments in the last four months of 2009 and has failed to pay off the entire debt despite demands to do so. In court papers, the bank estimated it is owed more than $8.4 million in principal and interest.
The foreclosure case could affect plans to expand Heritage Harbour.
Lennar won preliminary county approval in 2008 to fold the dairy site into Heritage Harbour and build 735 homes there as an extension of the Stoneybrook neighborhood.
That was part of a larger plan to build Heritage Harbour’s second and final phase, consisting of 2,450 homes, 497,000 square feet of retail space, 150 hotel rooms and 600 assisted-living and/or nursing home beds.
None of that has been built, as no final development approvals have been granted, said Doug Means, a county planning division manager. County planners have considered the expansion “on hold” for a year, he said.
As a result, dairy cows continue to roam the Moore site.
“Nothing has happened on that property,” said Shirley Meyer, a Stoneybrook resident who was among those who voiced concerns three years ago about the proposed expansion. “It’s been in limbo for quite a few years.”
Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.