Frank magazine’s latest issue is on the news-stands [issue 571 – good until Nov. 10]and we can’t wait even our usual week before alerting townsfolk to the article on a Wolfville development which takes up a full two pages. The cover headline reads “Valley Developers: We’ve lost everything.”
The Valley developers referred to, of course, are Jim Thorpe and the two Sousas , formerly of Wolfville, now resident in Edmonton, who are now claiming bankruptcy with debts totalling 7 million plus each, “almost all Railtown related.” [It’s Jim’s second time through the bankruptcy wringer; Frank tells us he “survived a 1989 bankruptcy in Edmonton, receiving an absolute discharge a year later.” ] So, it’s a sad end to their Nova Scotia dream; that’s the tone of that “Off the Rails” segment.
The other segments concentrate on what’s going on in Railtown now. The Sousas and Thorpe sent a farewell note to the Railside Development residents advising them that they were no longer involved and questions or concerns should be directed to the receiver Robert Hunt, of Green Hunt Wedlake trustees. This letter is contrasted with the welcoming words addressed to prospective buyers on Railtown’s glossy website 4 years ago: “Peace of mind is based on trust and trust is earned. We hope to earn your trust and want you to know that we understand your dreams and wishes. We will be with you through every step of the building process.” “No disappointments and no surprises” they said.
We’ve been following the Railtown saga in and out of Frank from the beginning. You remember that Frank expressed doubt about the viability of the project early on [as did we and a number of savvy Valley folk] and the developers responded with that open letter to Frank, a quarter -page ad in the CH [wonder if the CH got paid for that] The publicity didn’t seem to help sell more units but there were some buyers and Frank lists them, there are about 13, (as well as the commercial tenants). It appears at least some of their deposits might be safe:
“The failure to officially register the Railtown condo corporation…meant the trio couldn’t legally sell the units and couldn’t get their mitts on the buyer’s capital.” …
” Former Railtown realtor MacKay Real Estate earned a 6% commission on condo sales, and is holding deposits in trust worth over $97,000.”
The new realtors [Royal Lepage] has advised the new owner to take the Railside condos off the market until the condo corp. can be registered, and meanwhile the residents [who had been withholding rent] have to pay it; the receiver Robert Hunt has been collecting.
“Though he encountered hold-outs Rob collected $9,964.83 for September’s rent and vows he may track down those who vacated their leases early and show them he means business.”
But in return he managed to get NS Power to turn the lights back on in the common areas and made arrangements to take out ” the ever growing mountains of trash in the Railtown garbage room.” Good deal we’d say.
This isn’t the end of Railtown. It will be like Crowell tower, a constant reminder of poor development policies.