April 5, 2010 / 9:41 PM / 10 years ago

Albuquerque developer files for bankruptcy

* Westland DevCo has $361 mln assets, $198 mln debts

* Had planned to build 39,000 homes in Albuquerque

* Owes $181 mln to Barclays, Five Mile Capital, iStar

WILMINGTON, Del., April 5 (Reuters) - A company that planned an “enormous and unprecedented” residential and commercial development in the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico, filed for bankruptcy on Monday, according to court documents.

Westland DevCo Inc filed for bankruptcy with $361 million in assets and $198 million in debts, as of Dec. 31.

The company said it had planned to “create, essentially, a new town within the City of Albuquerque that would include burgeoning residential, commercial and industrial areas, with new schools and other amenities, such as an arts and cultural district.”

The company said it planned a total of 39,328 residential lots over the next 20 years, but only had a few hundred lots under contract.

The developer is the latest in a steady stream of developers and commercial real estate companies to file for bankruptcy or default on loans. Many of the companies borrowed against the value of their real estate holdings, which have since plummeted in value, making it almost impossible to refinance.

Westland DevCo’s limited partners are units of D.E. Shaw and SunCal Cos. SunCal bought 55,000 acres in Albuquerque in 2007 for $250 million, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The developer’s secured loan matured in July with $181.8 million outstanding. The company said disputes among the lenders was making it difficult to negotiate a restructuring. To avoid the uncertainty of litigation, it filed for bankruptcy.

The company’s secured loans are held by Barclays Plc (BARC.L), Five Mile Capital SPE B LLC and a unit of iStar Financial Inc SFI.N.

SunCal has had problems with other projects, mainly due due to the bankruptcy of its partner in those developments, Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.

SunCal and D.E. Shaw did not immediately return a call for comment.

The case is In re Westland DevCo LP, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 10-11166. (Reporting by Thomas Hals; editing by Andre Grenon)

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