Landers declares bankruptcy
Monitor Staff Reports
GUN BARREL CITY–The developer of Heritage Cove in Gun Barrel City has
filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in federal court.
According to court documents, Landers Development LP is retaining the
services of Howard Marc Spector, of Spector & Johnson PLLC of Dallas, to
represent the firm in bankruptcy proceedings.
An affidavit from Spector, dated Nov. 13, states his firm has no
connections to Landers Development, its creditors or any other party of
interest in the action.
Back in June, 2005, Ken Landers signed a performance agreement with the
Gun Barrel City Economic Development Corporation to put in
infrastructure (sewer, water, electricity and two roads) to make
Heritage Cove ready for new businesses moving to the city.
In exchange, the EDC turned over 45 usable acres to Landers Development,
upon receiving $400,000 in qualified receipts.
Landers Development built a LaQuinta Hotel, which has not been completed
and is up for sale.
Hugh Callander (email@example.com)
is the sales agent for the property, which is being sold “as is.”
Landers also repeatedly told EDC members he had ordered the retaining
walls for the “town lake” dredged out of a creek bottom on the eastern
edge of the property, but that never transpired.
Thus far, a handful of businesses are located there, including Lander’s
own Fuddrucker’s Restaurant, which was open for five months before
The originally planned multi-screen movie theater complex is now nearing
completion, and Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership was one of the first
to build and open an Aaron’s rental center in the commercial/retail
portion of the development.
A kolache-donut shop, nail salon and an American General opened in the
strip mall facing State Highway 334, next to Fuddrucker’s.
The news of the bankruptcy filing came as no surprise to EDC members or
“It’s not unexpected, given all the problems he (Landers) had,” current
EDC president Steve Webster told The Monitor. “We all lost out on that
deal, but hopefully good will come as others pick up the pieces.”
Dennis Wood, who headed the EDC when the 2005 performance agreement with
Landers was drafted and redrafted, said the development helped the area
overall, though he said the city didn’t handle it correctly two years
ago when it had the chance.
When the issue of extending Lander’s performance agreement was shut down
by the city council in September-October, 2007, the council should have
moved to enforce the agreement with a default letter, and pursued legal
remedy to recoup the half-million-dollar value of the acreage, Wood
“The good news is the bank foreclosed on the hotel and it is for sale,”
Wood added. “Someone will buy it and open it, which will be good for the
Mabank plans new marketing push
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
GUN BARREL CITY–The new Comfort Suites Hotel in Mabank is planning to
open around the first of the new year.
Progress on the 70-room hotel was among the list of new businesses and
improvements Mabank is excited about – among them, the completion of a
$7 million drainage and road-widening project. (See page 4A of the Nov.
12 issue of The Monitor for a complete report on the road project.)
Most everyone who had a hand in seeing the two-year project completed
four months ahead of schedule were present at the Nov. 12 Cedar Creek
Lake Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon.
Special guests included State Rep. Betty Brown, other city dignitaries
and both Rotary and Kiwanis club members.
Mabank Economic Development director Scott Confer told chamber members
inquiries about Mabank and the area have been flooding into his office
since the road improvements began.
“We’re doing a major marketing program in about a month to highlight
Cedar Creek Lake and Mabank. It will be very aggressive,” Confer said.
Among those highlighted will doubtless be several new businesses in
Mabank, including the recently opened Fiesta Grill, which joins branch
locations in Ennis and Corsicana, and the Bluestone Apartments.
The multifamily complex reports 70 percent of its 76 units are occupied,
In addition, new businesses have moved into Market Street, where a new
pocket park is taking shape, he added.
A new Subway Sandwich Shop plans to break ground in April or May, and
the new hotel is aiming at 65-70 percent occupancy rate.
The road project was 10 years in the making, with the drainage plans
reworked twice, and a great deal of time spent procuring all the
necessary easements and rights-of-ways, Confer said.
“It takes more than people generally recognize to get a big project
done,” he said.
Brown congratulated everyone involved in making the project a success.
“Coming to Mabank, and knowing so many of you, is like coming home,” she
“You know they (TxDOT) don’t hear many compliments for their work. Their
calls are mostly complaints,” Brown said. “But the reports from my
Athens office are that TxDOT has been great, and that they are a
pleasure to work with.”
She underscored the important role transportation will continue to play
in the economic growth of the area and the state.
“Transportation will continue to be a priority in the Legislature,”
Brown added. “I hope to hear from you when TxDOT could do better, or we
could do better in our relations with TxDOT.”
Brown concluded by mentioning the recent mass shooting at Fort Hood, and
asked God to bless all the families most deeply affected by the tragedy.
Mabank city administrator Louann Confer read a city council resolution
recognizing the efforts of city employees in the road project.
“We did have to move water and sewer lines. Not all property owners were
happy, and TxDOT and the contractor worked as well as they could with
them,” she said.
“Overall, we worked well together. I hope all future projects work as
well as this one,” she added.
H1N1 shots offered
Special to The Monitor
ATHENS–The Texas Department of State Health Services has received
limited doses of the H1N1 vaccine and will be administering the vaccine
free to priority groups over the next few months.
These priority groups are pregnant women, children 6 months to 4 years,
then age 5 through 64 with health conditions associated with higher risk
of medical complications from influenza, health care and emergency
medical personnel who provide direct patient care, and household
contacts of children 6 months of age.
The H1N1 vaccines will be offered at the Athens Clinic, located at 708
E. Corsicana St. For information about clinic hours, or making an
appointment, call (903) 675-7742.