ADDISON, TX-Commercial foreclosure notices, like the residential sector, are clocking in at higher rates than last year. Courthouse sales in the four-county region are poised for an $83-million parade of assets, including Southwest Center Mall’s 538,000 sf of shop space.

As always, it’s not known until the auction bell rings Aug. 7 if last-minute arrangements have stalled the sheriff’s sale process. Southwest Center Mall, owned by SW Dallas LP, was posted in February for a $13-million note, rescued from the monthly sale only to return in May with an $8.5-million dun from its Greenville, DE-based lender, Christiana Bank & Trust Co., Dallas/Fort Worth’s chief marketwatcher, George Roddy Sr., president of Foreclosure Listing Service Inc. of Addison, tells The mall owner couldn’t be reached by deadline about the posting for the 3662 W. Camp Wisdom Rd. property.

Roddy, who tracks acquisitions and dispositions too, says North Texas investor H. George Schuler of McKinney bought the Southwest Dallas mall’s shop space in December 2005 from a lender who foreclosed on it in 2003. The asset totals 1.4 million sf, with its anchor roster including Burlington Coat Factory, Dillard’s, Foley’s and Sears. Roddy says the mall’s last occupancy reading was 72%. Dallas Central Appraisal District assesses the 27.4-acre mall, situated near US Hwy. 67 and Interstate 20, at $6.4 million.

August foreclosure postings region-wide totaled 140 or 39 more notices than August 2006. Southwest Center Mall was one of 11 retail postings, but the balance was mostly nondescript properties, Roddy says. Postings went up on 25 apartment complexes, six office buildings, eight industrial assets and 77 miscellaneous properties like restaurants, auto repair centers, duplexes, a mobile home park and an airplane hangar. The industrial sector was the only one to show a decline from August 2006 when 10 properties were posted.

For the first time in several years, Tarrant County outpaced Dallas Count in the August round. There were 76 properties posted in Tarrant versus 53 in Dallas. Collin County had notices nailed up on five assets and Denton had six. In August 2006, Tarrant and Dallas were tied with 45 notices while Collin had four and Denton, seven.

“We have seen a lot of speculation in land plays in Tarrant County,” Roddy says, citing the Barnett Shale oil and gas exploration as the impetus. Notices on land tracts rose 8%. Of the 13 properties on the upcoming auction block, six had mortgages exceeding $100,000, with one in Carrollton in Dallas County delinquent on a $465,000 note, according to Roddy’s analysis.

To date this year, Roddy says the commercial market has escaped “pride of ownership” courthouse sales. “It’s not like the ’80s when we saw class A’s being posted. Nowadays it’s mostly class C properties,” he says. “The commercial market shows no indicators that it’s getting soft or leaning toward more foreclosures than we’re seeing now.”

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