Lender Sues Over Stalled Spring Training Park

     PHOENIX (CN) – The city of Goodyear, Ariz., broke its promise to press forward with a major league spring training complex after the developer defaulted on a $38 million construction loan and went under, the lender claims in Maricopa County Superior Court. Home to the Cleveland Indians, the ball park is set to include the Cincinnati Reds in 2010.

     MPK Enterprises, Swansea Properties and Eagletail Bighorn owned or had interest in 247 acres the city wished to acquire for the development of the spring training complex and surrounding commercial development, the lawsuit states.
     The landowners allegedly entered into a series of agreements with the city to build the training complex and control the development of the nearby “Ballpark Village,” described as a “private commercial development consisting of hotels, retail space, restaurants, offices, and other private uses.”
     M&I Marshall Ilsley Bank loaned MPK, Swansea and Eagletail $38 million and agreed to advance $22 million of the loan to the city of Goodyear in a letter of credit on behalf of MPK, according to the lawsuit.
     The bank claims MPK and its affiliates defaulted on the loan in May 2008 and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August. They still owe more than $28.6 million on the loan, the lender claims.
     The city allegedly agreed to reimburse up to $10 million of the costs of construction, but terminated its infrastructure agreement with the bank without making any reimbursement payments.
     The bank demands a declaration requiring the city to operate the facilities within Ballpark Village, to allocate the costs for the areas, to timely approve “land use, zoning and permit applications,” reconfigure parking, pay the bank up to $10 million in reimbursement costs, and pay the bank a rebate up to $5 million of the complex’s taxes on retail and restaurant sales. The bank also demands a declaration requiring that the city budget for the retail space of the park not to exceed $1.9 million.
     Civiterra Design-Build is also named as a defendant.
     M&I Bank is represented by Lawrence G. Scarborough of Bryan Cave in Phoenix.

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