Biscuit Run – Now in Court

The Biscuit Run story, originally a large tract of land, then a planned huge development, now failed planned development and a planned State Park, gets another chapter.

This chapter begins … in court. Brendan Fitzgerald at C-Ville reports:

Forest Lodge LLC—a venture that includes developer and Virginia National Bank chairman Hunter Craig and Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw—have filed a civil case in Albemarle County Circuit Court to contest land preservation tax credits received after they sold Biscuit Run to the state.

This part is fascinating:

Forest Lodge’s Piedmont appraisal “estimated Biscuit Run to be sold out in 10 to 11 years…[at an annual rate of] approximately 300 units, 50 of which are affordable units.” The Salzman appraisal, in comparison, “estimated that it would take 16 years.”

I’m curious as to how they defined “units” – are they purely residential? Single family? Commercial? Apartments?

For some quick context during the apex and subsequent decline in Charlottesville and Albemarle:

From 1 January 2006 to 1 January 2008 there were 4528 transactions reported in the Charlottesville MLS. 791 were marked as being “new construction”*.

If they’re filing a civil case against the Commonwealth, hopefully all these secretive appraisals will be made public.

(I’ll take this opportunity to thank the C-Ville and The HooK for having the journalists who investigate these stories; without them, the public would likely know much, much less. (most) Bloggers can’t do what they do.)

Update 10 November 2011:

Hawes Spencer at the HooK continues his investigation into Biscuit Run – The flip that flopped: Biscuit Run men want $20 million more from taxpayers and Waldo at cvillenews notes succinctly states:

I’m something like $100k underwater on my mortgage. Here I was thinking that it was my duty to suck it up and live with, because it’s nobody’s fault but my own. Maybe that attitude is what’s keeping me from being a successful businessman.

More analysis to come in the next few days.

For background on Biscuit Run:

Bad men? New numbers show spiraling cost of Biscuit Run – The HooK – 1/6/2011

‘Insufficient evidence’: State mum as Biscuit Run appraisers go unpunished – The HooK – 5/30/2011



The bubble blog

* The “new construction” marker in the Charlottesville MLS has been in existence for a couple of years and is just now starting to be used consistently. The Charlottesville MLS, while the best searchable record of real estate transactions is, by my arbitrary guesstimate, accurate 87.437% of the time. In short, it’s good enough from which to draw reasonably accurate (while hedged appropriately) conclusions.

** How’s that for a disclaimer? 🙂

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