Lenders purchase Dumplin Creek property

Apr. 17, 2014 @ 11:50 PM

A corporation set up by lenders, including Sevier County Bank and other banks, is in possession of the Dumplin Creek property after a foreclosure auction at the Sevier County Courthouse Wednesday.

At least two groups signed up to bid on the property, but neither offered a bid after the lenders entered the initial bid of $12.5 million.

A representative of Sevier County Bank said the new corporation was created by lenders to hold the property while they try to find a new buyer.

“The banks will continue marketing it,” said Clay Harris.

The 200-acre property along Interstate 40 southeast of Exit 407 was owned by Kodak Land Co. LLC, a corporation formed by Knoxville developer John Turley. Turley had indicated he hoped to make it into a retail and entertainment development similar to Turkey Creek in Knoxville, another of his projects.

Workers had started clearing trees and grading a ridge on the property, but development of the property stopped during the late 2000s recession and never resumed.

Turley asked the city of Sevierville to consider building a road that would have served the property, but city officials refused at the time, saying the city hadn’t done that for other large commercial developments.

Sevier County Bank and other lenders sued Turley for $25 million last year, saying he failed to pay loans he had personally guaranteed that were tied to the property.

A Knoxville group, Neyland Land Associates, has expressed interest in buying the property and convinced the city to develop the road originally requested by Turley, after turnover left the city's board in the hands of a new set of aldermen.

However, they weren’t present at the auction Wednesday. It wasn’t clear what that means for the negotiations going forward.

“I don’t know what their interest is at this time,” Harris said.