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RWL Investments Bankruptcy Winds Down

3 min read

Sixteen months after filing for Chapter 11, RWL Investments LLC of Little Rock is about to conclude its trip to bankruptcy court. However, the case has followed a path resembling Chapter 7 liquidation rather than its original course, set for financial reorganization.

The venture, which bears the initials of Ron Lazenby, owned a mix of more than two dozen commercial and residential properties in central Arkansas when it filed for bankruptcy protection on March 8, 2016.

That portfolio, which included the famed Villa Marre in downtown Little Rock, is all but gone as lenders holding more than $8.5 million of debt have taken over most of the properties amid a sprinkling of sales.

First Community Bank of Eastern Arkansas in Marion, the largest creditor of RWL Investments, is in the process of taking possession of the Villa Marre and nine other properties securing a $1.9 million loan.

One of the assets linked with the First Community loan bloomed into a new financial controversy four months ago.

Geyer Springs Investments LLC, led by Salina Nou, claims Lazenby reneged on a 2012 lease-purchase agreement on the Shipley Do-Nuts at 8211 Geyer Springs Road. The 900-SF Little Rock location is part of the 1.37-acre Windamere Plaza.

Nou asked the court to order Lazenby to accept final payment and complete the $250,000 sale or refund more than $200,000 paid to date.

A hearing to decide the matter is scheduled for July 25 in Pulaski County Circuit Court.

Other notable properties tied to the First Community debt include a 16,670-SF commercial project at 5301-07 Mabelvale Pike in Little Rock and eight apartments at 103-105 42nd Place in North Little Rock.

Centennial Bank of Conway liquidated two retail projects at 7515 Geyer Springs Road and 10507 Stagecoach Road along with a small apartment project at 1817 Broadway in deals totaling $1.4 million. The bank, which held $1.9 million of RWL debt, also recovered three houses in downtown Little Rock from the limited liability company.

Centennial also repossessed Ron and Toni Lazenby’s 7,950-SF home at 20 Chenal Circle and a 4,043-SF house at 3217 N. Rodney Parham Road in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood.

In total, the bank held a $3.4 million judgment against RWL Investments, the Lazenbys and the Ronald Lazenby Revocable Trust.

First Security Bank of Searcy held debt totaling $1.4 million secured by five RWL properties. The bank sold an 8,000-SF office building at 5111 John F. Kennedy Blvd. in North Little Rock, a 2,448-SF commercial building at 700 Edgewood Drive in Maumelle and two Little Rock houses for a combined $981,000.

First Security’s only remaining RWL property is a 0.42-acre commercial project at 1721-25 Main St. in North Little Rock.

BancorpSouth Bank of Tupelo, Mississippi, held RWL debt totaling $975,000 secured by three properties.

The sale of the 11,524-SF Evergreen Professional Building at 2 Van Circle in Little Rock brought $575,000.

Two Little Rock houses at 1619 and 1623 Broadway securing the BancorpSouth debt remain in the name of RWL Investments.

The 5,000-SF Winner’s Plaza office building at 501 Millwood Circle in Maumelle also remains in the name of RWL Invest-ments. However, the property entered a court-approved receivership in March.

The property secured more than $935,000 of debt held by U.S. Bank of Cincinnati.

Eagle Bank & Trust of Little Rock recovered the Village Green project in Cabot in a $515,200 foreclosure sale. The 11,000-SF retail center at 3065 Hwy. 367 secured $835,000 of debt held by the bank.

RWL Investments filed a motion to dismiss its bankruptcy case, noting that the venture essentially has no assets.

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