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Fords Colony Project Delayed

 From an article in The VA Gazette by By Cortney Langley

A large continuing care retirement community at Ford’s Colony in James City County, Williamsburg VA has fallen victim to the credit markets seizing up. The financing dried up overnight but may ease up before long.

“There’s no way to mince words with that,” Realtec vice president Drew Mulhare said Thursday. “The contract we had with Windsor Healthcare [Management] is on hold right now, having to do with the economy and the credit crunch. So we’re expanding our search for a partner at this point.”

Windsor had been responsible for bringing in financing for the land and  construction, as well as the development team and the health care management company.

Mulhare said the delay won’t scuttle the project. “We wanted to complete the land transaction and kick the marketing off this fall, and we’re behind on that,” he said. But ground-breaking wasn’t scheduled for two more years anyway, after enough units were pre-sold to begin the first phase, he said.

“We don’t want to give anyone the impression this has come and gone,” he insisted. “This is not going to blow away in the wind. I would just call it a very unfortunate coincidence. When we were trying to put this thing together, the stock market tanked. I’m hoping we’ll get it back on track by the end of the year.”

Mulhare said Realtec is in talks with other health care providers. He emphasized that the negotiations are nationwide and not limited to local players.

He outlined a predicament facing many developers. Investors, whose wealth is tied up in the stock market, would have to sell at deep losses to try to invest elsewhere.

“We are talking to folks now who are telling us, ‘Our investment portfolio is down 25 percent just like everyone. And now is not the time to sell,’” he said. While the delay has pushed back the marketing schedule, Mulhare expects construction to still happen in 2010. He’s also recently seen some positive indicators. Where sales in Ford’s Colony, Williamsburg began to slow in 2007, they dropped to a trickle this summer. During October, more people are making serious offers, he said.