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Posted: May 7, 2010 12:00 a.m.

Blue Willow Village avoids foreclosure

The Blue Willow Village in downtown Social Circle has renegotiated their loan with Wachovia in order to avoid foreclosure.

Owner Louis Van Dyke had until Tuesday to secure the deal, which required him to work with the bank to restructure the $2.875 million loan that he took to build the Blue Willow village in 2007.

"What we’ve done is establish a payment schedule that can be made in today’s economy as the recession winds down," Van Dyke said. "They (Wachovia) don’t want to take (The Village). I don’t want to lose it."

The Blue Willow Village was opened in 2008 and featured several shops, including Lou’s Soda Fountain and a museum. According to Van Dyke, all of the shops had been leased before construction was completed, but the crumbling economy at the time led most of the potential store-owners to request to break their leases.

"It was a victim of the recession," Van Dyke said "Every business space was pre-leased months before (the opening in Oct. 2008), but then the market crashed. All but three tenants wanted amicably to get out of the pre-lease agreements. We let them."

Without the businesses, particularly the museum, bringing in revenue and paying rent, there was not enough income to pay for the loan.

According to Van Dyke, the new plan will allow them to pay back the loan at a rate they can currently afford based on their income. He said the next thing that would need to happen would be more businesses would need to move into the site. He stated a fitness center would be opening in the site in August, and that they were actively looking for other businesses.

The Blue Willow Village is an offshoot of the famous Blue Willow Inn, which has served as a major tourism draw for the city since it opened in 1991.


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