Douglas Wilson Companies’ role in turning around and finishing two distressed east coast assets was highlighted in The Washington Post. The recent article, titled “What Opus East started is now finished,” delves into the two surviving Opus East deals:
The eastern arm of what is now known as Minnesota-based Opus Group, Opus East had offices in Rockville and was active in some of the area’s hottest neighborhoods until it filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in July 2009, opting to liquidate its holdings rather than try to resuscitate them.
Three years later, however, some of the company’s Washington area deals found success long after the team that acquired and designed the projects scattered. Two of the projects were recently completed with money from the bank providing original financing, and both have found new buyers.
A partially built 268,762 square-foot College Park research center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was abandoned when Opus East filed for bankruptcy, with an estimated $60 million in construction still needed. A 10-story office project at 1015 Half St. SE was left as a skeleton.
Bank of America had nearly $300 million in construction loans on the two projects. When Opus ran into trouble, the bank asked for a court-appointed receiver, Douglas Wilson Cos. of San Diego, to manage the properties. “I think many financial institutions would have just said, ‘Let’s liquidate our position,’” Douglas Wilson said. “You can sell a partially built building, but you’ll probably get 30 cents on the dollar.”
Instead, Bank of America stuck it out — a testament to the strength of the Washington market. Wilson brought in new contractors to finish the projects with Bank of America funds. New York-based Acquest Development bought the NOAA building at the end of last year and Prudential Real Estate Investors is purchasing the Half Street building. Bank of America spokeswoman Shirley Norton said in an e-mail that the bank was “for the most part, repaid.”
To read the full article on The Washington Post website, click here.