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Snowmass Developer Sues Hypo Real Estate, Danske, KBC for $406 Million

Base Village Owner LLC, which was developing 19 acres in Snowmass, Colorado, sued Hypo Real Estate Capital Corp. and three European banks seeking damages of more than $406 million for not living up to their funding obligations in the project.

The developer said it entered into a loan agreement in March 2007 to enable it to acquire and construct condominiums, hotels, ski services and retail space in Snowmass, near the Aspen ski resort, according to a complaint filed today in New York state Supreme Court in Manhattan.

The lenders, which include Frankfurt-based DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale, Copenhagen-based Danske Bank Group, and Brussels- based KBC Bank NV, “engaged in a transparent effort to evade their contractual obligations to fund” the project because of the credit crisis, causing it to lose its entire equity of $213 million as well as $193 million it would have earned, Base Village Owner alleged in the complaint.

Hypo Real Estate Capital was the New York-based administrator under the loan agreement.

Representatives of Hypo Real Estate and the three banks in Europe and New York didn’t immediately respond to e-mail messages seeking comment after regular business hours.

When Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., one of the original lenders in the project, filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008, Hypo Real Estate, DekaBank and KBC threatened to withhold further advances until it was determined who would be responsible for Lehman’s portion, the developer said in court papers.

The lenders moved to appoint a receiver July 9 after having “cash-starved” the developer, according to the complaint.

A foreclosure sale is scheduled for Nov. 17.

The case is Base Village Owner LLC v. Hypo Real Estate, 651222/2010, New York state Supreme Court (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: Karen Freifeld in New York at kfreifeld@bloomberg.net.

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