Friday November 9, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- The owner of the three former Pittsfield-area Burger King restaurants that closed abruptly in June is working on a deal to sell the properties, while the bank that holds the mortgages is planning to put them up for sale at a foreclosure auction scheduled for Nov. 28.

Attorney Emil George of Pitts field, who represents former Burger King operator Richard C. George, has reached an agreement to sell the three restaurants to a real estate developer "so to speak" whom he declined to identify.

"The properties aren't under contract," Emil George said. "But we hope to have them sold before the auction date. We'll see what happens."

If the sale closes before the date of the foreclosure auction, TD Bank north could cancel those proceedings, Emil George said. He described the auction date as "a sort of deadline" imposed by the bank.

"The businesses were closed, and no income was being generated to pay the mortgage," he said. "The bank is saying we'll give you some time, but not all the time in the world.

"We thought we'd have [the sale] closed in August," he said. "We had two under contract that fell through."

The three restaurants are located on First Street and Merrill Road in Pittsfield and on Pittsfield Road (Route 7) in Lenox.

Attorney Peter Puciloski of Great Barrington, who represents TD Banknorth, said the bank would be willing to cancel the foreclosure auction if the private sale generates enough money to satisfy the debt on the note.


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"If the purchase amount is sufficient to pay off the mortgage principal plus accrued interest, plus the auction fee and lawyers fees, the bank would be made whole and would go away," Puciloski said.

Richard George, who is not related to Emil George, owed TD Banknorth $2.5 million on the note for the three former Burger Kings when papers were initially filed in Berkshire Superior Court. The amount has increased since then.

"I don't have an exact amount," Puciloski said. "But it's going up."

The foreclosure auction is part of the legal foreclosure proceedings that TD Bank north initiated against Rich ard George in Sept ember. Richard George holds a single mortgage for the three eateries, but the properties are scheduled to be auctioned separately, beginning with the Merrill Road restaurant at 11 a.m. on Nov. 28. The First Street auction is scheduled take place at 12:30 p.m., followed by the Route 7 auction at 2 p.m. The auction is being held by Tranzon Auction Properties, a nationwide auction agency based in Maine that has an office in Arlington.

If the sale to the developer goes through, Emil George said it is possible that the new owner would lease the buildings to another fast-food chain.

"Fast-food chains would generally come into [these types of buildings] and lease them," he said. "I suspect that the buyer would be talking to fast-food chains as prospective tenants."

According to Emil George, Richard George has had several opportunities to sell the three eateries since they closed, but they've all fallen through. This opportunity differs from the others because the three former Burger Kings are all under contract to the same buyer, he said.

"We've had opportunities to sell one, or two, or three," Emil George said. "This is an opportunity to sell all three."

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:
tdobrowolski@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6224.