Gardens of Grapevine facing foreclosure for the second time in two years

Posted Thursday, Jun. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For the second time in two years, Branch Banking & Trust in North Carolina has posted the undeveloped 192-acre Gardens of Grapevine project near Grapevine Mills mall for foreclosure.

BB&T posted the property for foreclosure two years ago, but owner Rafael Palmeiro, the former Texas Rangers slugger turned real estate developer, stopped the foreclosure process by filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in June 2011, owing creditors $40 million.

BB&T again says Palmeiro is in default on a $19 million note on the property. During the bankruptcy process, the bank opposed Palmeiro’s reorganization plan, which gave him five years to sell the property. But a bankruptcy judge approved the plan in January 2012, and Gardens of Grapevine emerged from bankruptcy in November.

The reorganization plan changed terms on the project’s loans, but quarterly interest payments were to begin right away, court records show. Amegy Bank, another creditor, recently filed papers with the bankruptcy court indicating that Gardens of Grapevine began defaulting on their loan in October 2012.

The foreclosure is scheduled for July 2 in Dallas County. The project is split by the Tarrant-Dallas county line.

Palmeiro bought the land in 2007. In April 2012, the Texas Department of Transportation paid him $3 million for 4.1 acres at Texas 121 and Grapevine Mills Boulevard for a road expansion project.

In February, Palmeiro filed suit against a Euless bonsai expert who bought 20 acres in the project in 2009 for an Asian garden attraction, seeking to recover $3.5 million he is owed. That land was foreclosed on by PLL Bonsai’s lender.

Gardens of Grapevine is near Grapevine Mills with frontage on Texas 121 and Farm Road 2499. It was to have hotels, shopping, dining, entertainment, offices and residential space, but it stalled in the recession.

In December 2011, a real estate broker marketing the property testified in a bankruptcy hearing that he had several potential buyers, but other than the sale of the land to the state, no other property has sold.

In addition to BB&T, court records show that Gardens of Grapevine also owes Compass Bank $5.5 million and Amegy Bank $2.5 million.

In 2007, Palmeiro’s partnership bought 142 acres from Hunt Building Corp. and 50 acres from Robert Beall. Palmeiro lives in Colleyville. He played for the Texas Rangers for 10 years and last played for the Baltimore Orioles in 2005.

Sandra Baker, 817-390-7727 Twitter: @SandraBakerFWST

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