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FORT LAUDERDALE, FL-Village Shoppes Associates Ltd. cleared a critical hurdle this week in its plan to secure a $5.8 million leasehold mortgage for refinancing and renovation purposes.

The affiliate of Miami-based Courtelis Co. received permission Tuesday from the Broward County Commission to collateralize the long-term lease agreement it maintains on 9.26 acres of county-owned land at North Perry Airport.

Under terms of the agreement, Prudential Mortgage Capital Company is refinancing an existing $7 million mortgage that Great West Life Assurance Co. issued in 1987 for the original construction and operation of the retail center.

Besides refinancing the existing loan, proceeds from the new mortgage will be used for renovation and operation purposes. About $100,000 of the total will be assigned as future reserves for capital improvements. Another $77,000 may be used for either capital improvements or working capital to cover operating costs.

The Courtelis affiliate originally signed a lease agreement in 1984 for a period that expires in March 2036. It pays annual rent of $168,422, or roughly $18,188 per acre.

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