Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Developer Wants County Guarantee for 50 Pct. of Resort Loan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

New Developer Wants County Guarantee for 50 Pct. of Resort Loan

Article excerpt

Don Breckenridge, who has built nine hotels in the St. Louis area, eagerly wants to build a conference center and resort at West Alton.

Further, Breckenridge believes that he can find lenders who would finance the project with only a 50 percent guarantee of the loan from St. Charles County.

Earlier this week, County Executive Eugene C. Schwendemann rejected a proposal by an Illinois group that had sought to develop the conference center and an adjacent golf course based on a 100 percent guarantee by the county of the financing.

The scheme to use the county's credit rating to marshal the entire $30 million needed to develop the resort ran into opposition from county Treasurer Terry Alexander; the county's financial adviser, Joy Howard, and last week, from Lawrence S. Ross, a Boatmen's Bank vice president and long-time financial adviser to county officials.

The financing proposal requiring a 100 percent county guarantee of the loan came from a group of developers headed by Ed Forester of the Chicago area. Forester said that private financing was not available for a hotel, that the county's participation in a "shared-risk, shared-reward" partnership was essential .

But after the plan had been scrutinized by Schwendemann and his advisers, he concluded this week, "It is apparent the developer must seek another source or method of financing since it appears it would not be in the best interest of the county to participate in the financing of the project as it is currently proposed."

Enter Breckenridge.

In an interview in St. Charles Tuesday, Breckenridge said he had assumed that the county would take part in the financing of the project but said he did not know where the 100-percent-guarantee concept came from.

"Some lenders," he said, "may be agreeable to support 50 percent of the debt. And I think it's a matter of sitting down with them and talking, negotiating with them. …

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