Ameritrust deal: Will your $15 million be safe?

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Peter Lawson Jones describes the $15 million loan as "a minor inconvenience."
We mentioned Monday that the K&D Group, the Willoughby development company that offered to take the Ameritrust complex off the county’s hands for a cool $35 million, is now negotiating for a $15 million loan. According to Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones, K&D would put $20 million down, and the county would loan the remaining $15 million over a two-year period… They’re still negotiating the terms of the loan, and how — or if -- the county can guarantee that it’ll get its money back. But given commissioners’ negotiating history, the smart money says that’s slightly less likely than a Miley Cyrus Oscar bid. Yet Jones doesn’t seem worried. He calls the loan “a minor inconvenience.” After all, K&D was the only development company that bid to buy the asbestos-filled Ameritrust complex, promising to turn the cluster of long-abandoned buildings into a hotel, condos and office space. Commissioners have already wasted $34 million trying to turn the buildings into their new headquarters. It took them two years to realize that the project was way too expensive to finish. But Jones believes the deal can be concluded. “I’m obviously hopeful that we’ll be able to work out an arrangement,” he says. “I think this is a deal I’d like to see done.” – Lisa Rab

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