Story Tools

Date of Issue: March 17, 2005

Tidemark asks for court decision on parking spaces

While the future looks a bit rosy for the formerly bankrupt - but now reorganized and refinanced - Tidemark hotel and condominium project in Holmes Beach, former Tidemark partner Southstar SSHB of Coral Gables has refused to hand over a lease it holds with Wachovia for 20 parking spaces that are planned to be part of the development.

That's an issue that was to be decided in court Jan. 4, said Tidemark managing partner Nick Easterling.

Tidemark has asked federal bankruptcy court Judge Alex Paskay to compel Southstar to surrender the lease, as Paskay ordered the company to do in an Oct. 8 ruling.

In response, Southstar claimed that before giving up the lease, Tidemark was to meet certain conditions and payments prior to the Dec. 1 closing Tidemark had with new partner Reliance Property Group. Instead, said Southstar, RPG and Tidemark tried to make those payments at the closing and that wasn't what the Oct. 8 court order said.

Southstar rejected the Dec. 1 offer and, in response, filed its own motion Dec. 3 claiming it was owed further relief "as is just and appropriate."

"They just want more money because I kicked them out of the deal last fall," explained Easterling. Southstar got the boot, he said, because it never planned on building the hotel and condo portions of the project, just the marina, and it wanted to gain control of the property so it could sell it off to another developer.

The reorganization agreement between Easterling and RPG confirms the project will be built as planned when it received site plan approval from the Holmes Beach City Commission in August 2001. That site plan calls for a 40-unit condominium project with accompanying marina and restaurant. The condominiums would be rented as hotel rooms.

Easterling was unclear how the loss of 20 parking spaces would affect his site plan, but was confident that Paskay would rule in Tidemark's favor.

He said all the money owed Southstar is being held in escrow pending a settlement order by the court. The reorganization financing with RPG involved an estimated $5.4 million to pay off creditors, including Southstar, and bring Tidemark out of bankruptcy court. Tidemark filed for bankruptcy in January 2004.

As of press deadline yesterday, no decision had been reached at the hearing.