Beaufort Commerce Park auctioned off for $2M

gmartin@islandpacket.comNovember 7, 2011 

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An S.C. Bank & Trust representative bid $2 million for the Beaufort Commerce Park at a foreclosure auction Monday at the Beaufort County Courthouse.

Because of the terms of the foreclosure, the bid does not represent a final purchase. A higher bid may still be submitted in the next 30 days.

But it does mark the end of another troubled chapter for the 165-acre park, which was bought in 2006 by the now-defunct Lowcountry Economic Network.

The network bought the property with a $2.6 million interest-only loan from five banks, including SCBT. Because Monday's bid is less than that amount, the banks might receive a deficiency judgment, which would allow them to pursue seizure of any remaining assets of the network to make up the difference.

The network, a public-private nonprofit organization that received about $270,000 annually from Beaufort County, tried to recruit businesses to the region for a decade before voting to dissolve earlier this year as the banks threatened to foreclose on the mostly empty park.

The network had argued that the park was critical to the future of the region's economy and attempted to persuade the Beaufort County Council to buy the land to save it from foreclosure.

In 2010, the county offered as much as $1.5 million for the property, but the offer was rejected by the lenders.

The park was sent into foreclosure in August by Beaufort County Master-in-Equity Marvin H. Dukes, who also presided over Monday's auction.

Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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