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Judge OKs sale of $93M in EpiCentre debt

A bankruptcy judge Monday approved the sale of $93.9 million in EpiCentre-related debt from Birmingham, Ala.-based Regions Bank to Blue Air 2010 LLC.

The sale of the loan to the Delaware-based company will allow for a reorganization of the debt that could return the EpiCentre to a viable project, attorney Dennis O’Dea, who was appointed to represent creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings, said last week.

Although he approved the sale, bankruptcy court Judge George Hodges expressed concerns during Monday’s hearing about not knowing the identity of the new investor.

The EpiCentre contains 300,000 square feet of office and retail space in the center of uptown Charlotte at Trade and College streets. It sits at the site of the old Charlotte convention Center and is considered an important part of the redevelopment plan for uptown.

Regions began foreclosure proceedings against EpiCentre owners Pacific Avenue and Pacific Avenue II in July after claiming they had not paid on a $90 million loan since December. The foreclosure proceedings were halted when the companies filed for bankruptcy protection that same month.

EpiCentre, which was developed by Afshin Ghazi and George Cornelson, said in a court filing that a new holder of the debt would make a reorganization of the company successful.

O’Dea is developing a plan so that nearly 40 entities owed more than $9 million by EpiCentre are paid. Those owed include contractors who helped build the EpiCentre and storeowners waiting on reimbursements for improvements made to their stores.

O’Dea said the sale of the debt shows a desire on the part of the new investor to reorganize the company so that the roughly $9 million can be paid at some point.

Tara Ramsey can be reached at tara.ramsey@mecktimes.com.

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