University Clarion Target of $13.5 Million Foreclosure Suit

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 25, 2013 12:00 am  

The Clarion in Little Rock is at the center of a $13.5 million foreclosure lawsuit. (Photo by Michael Pirnique)

Here comes another foreclosure involving property tied to Jonesboro developer Bruce Burrow and his business partner, Marty Belz of Memphis.

This time Liberty Bank of Arkansas has filed a foreclosure lawsuit in Pulaski County Circuit Court in an attempt to recover the property at 925 S. University Ave. in Little Rock that until recently was known as the Hilton Medical Center.

The lawsuit said that the $14 million loan Burrow and Belz took out through HLR LLC in 2003 is now in default. The lawsuit said the principal amount of $12.83 million plus another $688,000 in interest is owed on the loan, which is secured by the hotel.

The bank wants the court to immediately appoint a receiver “to protect and preserve” the value of the hotel. The hotel was rebranded as a Clarion early this year.

Burrow wasn’t named as a defendant in the lawsuit because he’s dealing with creditors in Bankruptcy Court.

“Liberty Bank does not seek to collect its debt from Bruce Burrow at this time, but reserves the right to do so in the event Mr. Burrow’s bankruptcy case is dismissed,” the lawsuit said.

We told you earlier this year that IberiaBank of Lafayette, La., had foreclosed on a $4.3 million loan secured by the 130,000-SF Brandon House project at 1100 S. University Ave.

Burrow and Belz allegedly defaulted on that debt.

And if you recall, Turtle Creek Partners LLC, a private partnership that included Belz and Burrow, sold the Mall at Turtle Creek in Jonesboro on Jan. 2 for $96.3 million.

We couldn’t reach Burrow or Belz late Thursday afternoon, but in January Belz said this about Burrow:

“He’s got financial issues that he has to deal with his various lenders and, you know, I try to support and work with Bruce on what those issues are as relates to our partnerships,” Belz said. “But, you know, I try to maintain our businesses and keep doing what we need to be doing.”

Belz also told us in January that reflagging the hotel would require about $1 million in renovations.

After operating the Hilton for about 10 years, “We just think this fits our needs and the needs of our hotel better,” he said.

 

 

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