ABOVE: Franklin Park is visible in the background behind the undeveloped portion of the Ovation property at McEwen Drive and Carothers Parkway. // MARK COOK
By MATT BLOIS
The owner of the the Ovation property is in default on a $44 million loan, and creditors are planning to auction off the property next week.
The Georgia based development company Thomas Ovation LLC planned to develop about half of the property located at the intersection of Carothers Parkway and East McEwen Drive. The development has some roads, but the company hasn’t finished the job.
In October 2018, the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, creditors gave the company, owned by Stan Thomas, until June1 to pay back its $44 million debt.
Thomas Ovation didn’t repay the loan before the deadline. According to a public notice, creditors plan to auction off the multi million dollar property on the steps of the county courthouse on Friday, June 28.
Thomas Ovation bought a 34 acre portion of the land from the Franklin developer SouthStar in May 2015 for $30.9 million. The company bought an additional 42 acres of land from SouthStar for $15.1 million in October 2015.
According to Bill Norton, an attorney representing a creditor in the bankruptcy case, Thomas Ovation could stop the auction by paying off the debt before June 28.
“Right now Ovation has its back against the wall. He’s got to either come up with the money or get somebody to come in there and buy it at the foreclosure sale that he can do business with,” Norton said. “At this point it looks kind of bleak.”
Thomas’ company narrowly avoided foreclosure on the Ovation property in May 2017 by filing for bankruptcy. The company came out of bankruptcy in August 2017 on the condition that the company pay back a $27 million loan.
According to the Nashville Business Journal, Thomas was able to repay that loan by a November 2, 2017 deadline.
Thomas Ovation, LLC also owes more than half a million dollars in taxes to Williamson County and the state of Tennessee.
Stanley Thomas did not return a phone call asking about the bankruptcy case before the publication of this story.
Norton said the auction will work the same way as a foreclosure on a single family home. An attorney overseeing the sale will announce the auction. The starting bid will be the amount owed to the creditors. If there are no higher bids, the creditors will become the owners of the property and it will be up to them to market and sell the massive property.
Other developers are continuing to work on the Ovation property. The website for Highwoods Properties, which owns the other half of Ovation, still lists 12 office spaces available on the property.
The company expects to eventually build 1.4 million square feet of office space, including a 12 story office building.
One of the first office buildings in the development is set to open later this month. Mars Petcare plans to host the grand opening of its new North American headquarters in Ovation on June 25. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee will be on hand to cut the ribbon
Mars is calling the new building a “pet friendly workplace of the future.” It features acres of outdoor green space, indoor dog play areas, pet sitters, automated water bowls and furniture with pet-friendly fabric.