The long-delayed Murrayville House condo is in foreclosure proceedings, and American authorities want the company owner extradited.
And, until this afternoon (Thursday, Sept. 7), the project was facing a possible tax sale for non-payment of property taxes.
In the meantime, condo owners have been waiting for more than 17 months past the original completion date to move into the 92-unit project, and are unclear what the future holds.
One early investor is worried she will never see the $50,000 she put towards the purchase of her unit.
The woman, who asked that her name not be used, put up $50,000 as part of a joint $100,000 investment in purchasing a unit “wholesale” before construction started.
She received a promissory note that said she would get her money back, plus 10 per cent interest, within a year. But the buyer was under the impression she was buying a condo unit, which she intended as an investment property.
“It sounded too good to be true, and in hindsight of course, it is too good to be true,” she said.
The buyer has never received interest or her money back, she said, and she’s not sure what the legal status of her ownership of one of the units is now.
“I’m already concerned that my money’s gone,” she said.
She has contacted the developers at Newmark, but only been told there were delays due to legal issues.
Court records show that Newmark is facing foreclosure actions from mortgage holders.
One case is claiming more than $19 million is owed, including interest, on a mortgage on the property.
Murrayville House was almost auctioned off by the Township of Langley for being in arrears on its property tax bill.
The company was three years in arrears on property taxes and owed almost $300,000, Darlene Foxgord told the Langley Advance Thursday morning. She is manager of revenue and taxation for the Township.
A tax sale was scheduled for Sept. 25 at 10 a.m. in the Township civic facility.
However, this afternoon (Sept. 7), the company paid $21,848 – just before the deadline for advertising the tax sale, Foxgord said.
That amount represents the delinquent portion of the tax bill for 2015, she explained. Therefore, with only two years of taxes outstanding, the tax sale for the condo development has been cancelled.
Meanwhile, the head of Newmark, Mark Chandler, is facing an extradition hearing on Friday, Sept. 8 and may be sent to the U.S.
BC Supreme Court documents show that the FBI investigated Chandler and his U.S. development company, Landcor Holdings. American law enforcement alleges that Chandler made false representations from investors to obtain their money.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
Murrayville House was originally scheduled to be completed almost a year and a half ago.
Numerous early buyers have had to rent or live with relatives – Fred and Terri West told the Langley Advance in July that they have lived in 11 different locations, mostly with family, while waiting for the building to be finished.
Township staff confirmed that the building was granted an occupancy permit as of Aug. 8.
“We’ve given a final inspection,” said Robert Cesaretti, manager of permits, licences, and inspection services for the Township.
Would-be residents, however, were told by Newmark that they cannot yet move in.
Newmark has had problems with creditors on Langley projects in the past.
In May, the Advance reported that Newmark was being sued by several creditors, including a PR firm and the U.S. National Bank Association, which alleged non-payment of $300,000 on a corporate credit card.
Newmark had also been the owner and developer of lands at the corner of 80th Avenue and 208th Street, where they planned to build a major condo and townhouse project dubbed A Poet’s Wynd.
They lost that land in a court-ordered sale after lenders brought foreclosure proceedings, alleging more than $16 million was owed to multiple mortgage holders.
That development has been taken over by a new buyer and is now in the early phases of construction.
• The Langley Advance has attempted to contact Newmark representatives for comment.