Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Developer faces September deadline 

A group of Hasidic investors seeking to build a 620-unit development on the former Lake Anne property in South Blooming Grove has earned a reprieve from the Bankruptcy Court in New York's Eastern District.

The group, Keen Equities, will have until Sept. 15 to file its reorganization plan to handle its financial obligations, ruled Judge Nancy Hershey Lord. Meanwhile, Keen will pay the Greene family, which holds the mortgage on the 750-acre Lake Anne property - a monthly sum of $37,520. That figure, the court said, is the monthly interest on the approximately $7 million Keen owes the Greenes.

Progress on the approval process for the housing development in South Blooming Grove has been slow. Keen has changed its plans from a mix of commercial and residential, to residential only, said Dennis Lynch, an attorney for the village, though the number of housing units has remained the same.

The current application is the fourth change the group has made to its original proposal filed in July, Lynch said. It has not started the environmental-review process.

The village Planning Board is examining the new proposal, said Lynch. He declined to comment on Keen's financial troubles or what impact that might have on the village's decision.

"The village treats all applications equally," said Lynch. The application is "working its way through the process."

Keen bought the property from the Greene family in 2006 for $15 million, with the aim of building "multi-family housing to accommodate the growing needs of the Satmar Community in Kiryas Joel," according to court papers. However, Keen defaulted on payments and owes the Greene family nearly $7 million. The family has been trying to recover the money since January 2011, when it began foreclosure proceedings.

But the foreclosure was put on hold when Keen filed for bankruptcy in November 2013. The Greene family has said in court filings that Keen does not have the financial resources to go ahead with the development.

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