Sunday, November 22, 2009








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 (  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 closing.
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 city officials.
“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 said.
“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 city.”


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, Confer said.
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 said.
“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.

Copyright © 2009, MediaOne, L.L.C.