Texas Luxury Housing: Four Seasons Las Colinas Foreclosed

The Four Seasons Las Colinas in North TexasAfter months of negotiations, one of the most elegant hotel complexes in North Texas finally has been foreclosed upon by a lender for an estimated $122 million.

The Four Seasons at Las Colinas in Irving, Texas, home of golf'sByron Nelson Championship, and an anchor for nearby home developments, now stands as one of the biggest foreclosures to hit Dallas real estate in the last eight years Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo even lives nearby. And even though it will not halt the daily operation of the hotel --- most hotels are run by companies contracted to manage the place regardless of who owns the dirt -- it could have a chilling effect on hotel operations, according to experts.

"It won't affect club membership," said an executive from another luxury Dallas hotel, "but if I were a bride choosing a place to have a wedding in six to 12 months, I might wonder if the doors would still be open."

Then, too, the Four Seasons sits on 400 acres surrounded by housing developments. Could this huge foreclosure bring down home values?

Los Angeles-based BentleyForbes was the owner of the Four Seasons property. The operations are under contract by the Four Seasons; the battle is over the structure and dirt. In 2006, when the economy was on fire in Dallas/Fort Worth, newbie owners BentleyForbes took out a $183-million loan from U.S. Bank NA. The company sunk about $60 million into renovations at the hotel -- including the to-die-for lobby, guest rooms, sports amenities and upgrades to the renowned golf course.

Then came 2009. BentleyForbes worked for 18 months with the loan's servicer, CW Capital, to modify the loan and prevent foreclosure; BentleyForbes also worked with its mezzanine lending partner, Chicago-based Capri Capital. A mezzanine lender is like a second lien on a commercial property, usually for a higher interest rate because they are second to the primary lender. According to the Dallas Business Journal, BentleyForbes was able to seal a modification deal with CW Capital, but it was no go with Capri Capital. The lender who bought the property at auction bid the debt, $122 million.

The sprawling resort is surrounded by upscale, gated communities of homes costing from $300,000 to $1.6 million, many of whose owners buy $380 per month sports memberships at the Four Seasons Sports Club to use like a country club, and who are not blinking over the foreclosure.

"The services continue to expand, and the facility is in great shape," says member Mike Sheridan, who lives nearby.

But Sheridan is curious as to why The Sports Club didn't make it on the Most Luxurious Fitness Clubs Across America list --- it should have, he says.

Local appraisers do not think the hotel'sforeclosure will have a negative impact on home prices -- Tony Romo lives in the exclusive, gated Cottonwood Valley subdivision directly across the street from the five-star resort whose homes skirt the golf course.

"It will not affect home values," says Dallas appraiser D.W. Skelton of Skelton and Associates. "But commercial foreclosures in general will affect all of our home values. When you start shutting down companies, everything in real estate is going to be impacted."

In a prepared statement, BentleyForbes CEO Tony Manos basically wished the best for the hotel, and said the improvements his company invested in the Four Seasons would help it thrive in the long run.

"BentleyForbes remains certain that its past management efforts and capital investments in the property since originally taking ownership in 2006 have positioned the resort for long-term success," Manos said in a prepared statement. "As the hospitality market recovers from the challenges of the current market realities, the Four Seasons Dallas will be able to fully leverage the extensive improvements to the golf courses, guest rooms, hotel lobby and guest amenities implemented and executed by BentleyForbes on behalf of the property."

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