New England sports village threatened with foreclosure | Local News
ATTLEBORO – An advertisement in The Sun Chronicle announcing that New England Sports Village, which currently consists of an ice rink and many vacant lots, would be auctioned off on May 7, setting off alarm bells across town over the weekend.
An auction can only mean one thing: foreclosure and financial loss.
It’s the last thing the city wants for what many hoped to someday become a top sporting destination on Commerce Way.
However, Stuart Silberberg, managing partner of AJAX 5CAP NESV, LLC, the company that owns the sports facility, said Monday evening that he was “optimistic” the property would not go up for auction.
âWe’re not going to let this happen,â he said.
He said his company was in negotiations with the lender, whom he declined to name.
He said the old lender, HarbourOne Bank sold the note to investors in late 2020.
Silberberg also declined to comment on how late the company is in its mortgage payments.
âIt’s not important,â he said. “We’re late.”
Silberberg said the pandemic had hit the company hard.
âCOVID has not been kind to us like it has been to a lot of people,â he said.
The rink business closed for about four months, then only operated about 30 to 70 percent for the rest of the year, putting it in a big financial hole.
However, business has improved, he said.
And now NESV is trying to find a deal to survive.
âWe have a dialogue with the lender and we’ll take it from there,â Silberberg said.
And he said the goal remains the same.
âWe are looking to continue building the property,â said Silberberg. “We believe that progress will occur.”
The ad was placed by auctioneer Paul E. Saperstein Co. Inc. of Holbrook on Saturday.
He said the entire property, including the rink complex and around 139.7 acres of land, was up for grabs.
This apparently sparked concern among rink users, as NESV released a statement on its Facebook page on Sunday.
He said the rink will not be auctioned off and negotiations are underway with the lender to keep the project, which started in 2015, on track.
The statement said the NESV is “well funded”.
“The New England Sports Village is currently involved in an ongoing legal process between the lender and the owner,” the statement said. âThe ice rink willâ NOT âbe auctioned and the land is currently being negotiated to continue the project. “
The online statement also referred to the pandemic.
âIt has been 14 long months for everyone, but we have succeeded and the 2021-2022 season is off to a good start! says the unsigned statement.
The New England Sports Village project began when the company purchased its first plot, 104 acres, then part of the Attleboro Industrial Park, from the debt-heavy Attleboro Redevelopment Authority in April. 2015 for $ 2.34 million.
The property extends between Tiffany and County streets, which are now connected by Commerce Way where NESV is located.
The purchase relieved the debt of the long-besieged ARA and launched the dream of North Attleboro businessman David Boucher, who has spent years pushing the project forward.
The first phase, an ice rink, opened approximately 19 months later in November 2016.
Clearance has since taken place, but there has been no further construction at the site.
Georges W. Rhodes can be reached at 508-236-0432.