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1:22 PM Wed, Nov. 21st

StoneRidge developer withdraws support for lease agreement

PRESCOTT VALLEY - The developer of the StoneRidge subdivision here withdrew support Thursday from an agreement in which the company would turn over the community center to help homeowners reduce bond debt.

Officials from Tempe-based SunCor announced the action about two and hours before the homeowners association board met with the intent to approve a lease agreement with the StoneRidge Community Facilities District. The CFD would have leased the building to the HOA for $168,609 a year through 2026, and the HOA would have applied the payments toward more than $13 million in bond debt.

SunCor in effect pulled the item from action at the HOA board meeting. If the board proceeded with approving the lease, SunCor would have recorded the documents Friday and wired a $838,421 bond payment in two business days, according to Town Manager Larry Tarkowski, who doubles as CFD district manager.

HOA board member Walt Nagy said, "The association was informed in the late afternoon (Thursday) by SunCor representatives that SunCor had chosen not to proceed with this transaction until some lingering issues between SunCor and the CFD district were worked out."

Nagy declined to speculate on the nature of the issues because he was not privy to the negotiations. SunCor Chief Executive Officer Joe Lapinsky was unavailable for comment.

"The board was fully prepared to explain the terms of the arrangement of the center being leased to the HOA," Nagy said. "We were fully prepared to explain it to our homeowners. I was as disappointed as anybody that the deal had crumbled."

The HOA board meeting came seven days after the Town Council, meeting as the CFD board, approved the lease agreement with SunCor. That action followed months of negotiations that town officials took part in after learning in December that SunCor was likely to file for bankruptcy.

"The CFD negotiated in good faith and identified deal points, addressed them and took an action," Tarkowski said Friday morning. "And the CFD board took an action (June 2) to approve the lease. The CFD board is disappointed that there has been some delay or further questioning."

Tarkowski initially expressed fears that SunCor's collapse would cause the annual bond payments of StoneRidge homeowners to double from about $800 to $1,000 a year now. SunCor and the homeowners have been paying about $1.4 million year to the CFD.

Town officials established the CFD in 2001, and the CFD that year issued a $14.8 million bond to finance a bridge on Stoneridge Drive and other public improvements.

StoneRidge, located in the foothills south of Highway 69, has about 1,000 homes. A similar number of home sites remain to be built.