Wells Fargo buys Berkeley Place shopping center for $10 million

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Wells Fargo buys Berkeley Place shopping center for $10 million

Published Tuesday, April 5, 2011   |  257 Words  |  

Wells Fargo Bank claimed the Berkeley Place shopping center in Bluffton in a foreclosure auction Monday, according to Beaufort County court records.

The bank, which started foreclosure proceedings against center owner Sea Turtle Entertainment in 2009, was the lone bidder, offering $10 million.

Sea Turtle Entertainment owed more than $30 million on a $23.5 million loan it obtained in 2007, according to the records.

The 24-acre open-air center is home to the Sea Turtle Cinemas movie theater and a collection of shops and restaurants.

A few of the center's units had been sold previously and were not affected by the auction, but the theater and much of the center were involved, said Lori Kaylor, managing partner of Sea Turtle Entertainment and vice president of Sea Turtle Cinemas.

She said the theater will remain open.

The 45,000-square-foot, 12-screen theater and an accompanying 145,000 square feet of retail and commercial space opened in late 2005 after several delays. The project, announced in December 2002, was expected to open a year later.

A judge appointed Faison & Associates, a Charlotte commercial real estate firm, to run the center and try to find a buyer after the bank initiated foreclosure. At the time, the bank said Sea Turtle Entertainment had failed to make monthly payments of more than $155,000 since September 2008 and was accumulating interest at a rate of more than $6,700 per day.

The theater, which has some ownership in common with Sea Turtle Entertainment, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in May.