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Discovery property being refinanced

Forum Development Group President Jose Lindner said an agreement has been reached with Bank of America to refinance a loan that a subsidiary company used for the purchase of about 76 acres of commercial property along U.S. Highway 63 in southeast Columbia.
A trustee’s sale scheduled for Feb. 2 was postponed until Feb. 23, but Lindner said he is certain the deal will be signed before that date to avoid foreclosure.
“We have a deal negotiated with Bank of America,” Lindner said. “They’ve canceled the sale. We’re in the process of getting the documents finalized.”
Lindner said the new notice was filed “to keep the pressure on us.”
The legal notice indicated that the Forum subsidiary Bristol Development Group had defaulted on a loan made by LaSalle Bank, which was acquired by Bank of America in October 2007. A document filed in the county recorder’s office said LaSalle had issued Bristol Development Group a $9.5 million loan in January 2007 secured by 225 acres on the west side of U.S. 63 at the Gans Road overpass. The trustee’s sale involves two of the five tracts of that property.
The trouble arose, Lindner said, because Bristol “inherited” Bank of America after it acquired LaSalle. The loan officers Forum dealt with had left, he said, and the company had difficulty making contact with a bank representative for months.
“They didn’t know the area or the property,” Lindner said.
In August 2008, Bristol hoped to submit plans for a mixed-use development at the U.S. 63 and Gans Road site. The company hoped the development would play off MU’s research park, Discovery Ridge, across the highway, helped finance the Gans Road overpass and planned on getting reimbursed with revenue from a Transportation Development District established on the site. They dubbed the conceptual development “Discovery.”
But the next month, at the height of the financial panic, several large retailers pulled out of talks with Bristol about locating in the development, Lindner said. Since then, the project has been static, and Lindner said the company has been negotiating a potential sale of some Discovery land for months.
Despite the sale’s cancellation Tuesday, several people showed up to the Boone County Courthouse steps, including Paul Land and Mike Grellner, commercial realtors, and former City Manager Ray Beck, who is involved with a plan to build a Catholic High School near the Discovery site.

MU investing $5 million in tech transfer

The University of Missouri System announced that it plans to invest up to $5 million during the next three years to accelerate commercialization of intellectual property.
“This new fund is designed to help fund start-up companies in Missouri that can move the discoveries of our faculty from the laboratory to the marketplace,” President Gary Forsee said in his annual State of the University speech on Jan. 29. “This will create more high-quality jobs, build the state’s tax revenues and cultivate new revenue streams for the university.”
Forsee added that he anticipates the new Enterprise Investment Program will leverage the university’s expertise in areas that include, but are not limited to, the life sciences, nano science, information technology, engineering, medicine/medical devices and energy.
Forsee said an outside advisory panel representing, for example, key technology, science and business sectors will be formed to review funding applications and recommend funding awards. This panel’s review process, which will include evaluation of business plans and proposed use of the funds, is slated to begin this summer. The university hopes to make its first awards this fall.
Eligible start-up companies — including those that operate out of university incubators across the state — must obtain an investment at a level that shows a commitment to the company’s success.

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Steve Moeller of Lone Cottonwood Farms at his spot at the Columbia Farmers marker. Photo courtesy of Columbia Farmers Market