Developer of shopping plaza at 33rd, Q files Chapter 11

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Posted: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 12:00 am

La Cuadra Co., touted as a tonic for the blighted area at 33rd and Q Streets, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

A Latin-themed business plaza began to rise there in 2006, on top of a dilapidated corner strewn with trash and abandoned auto tires. The first phase of the $1.5million development attracted a Mexican grocery, a taco shop and other businesses.

Something hasn't worked out as planned: La Cuadra Co., the landlord and developer, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week. The legal papers cited debts and assets of more than $1 million, and fewer than 50 creditors.

There is a public finance component. Omaha contributed $315,000 in tax-increment financing for initial construction. TIF subsidizes urban projects based upon expectations for new property-tax revenue.

Chapter 11 is the part of the bankruptcy code that allows businesses, such as struggling landlords, to reorganize their debts under court supervision, usually coming to new repayment agreements with lenders.

The bankruptcy of La Cuadra Co. does not appear to have affected business for the shopping plaza. The parking lot was full of cars Tuesday afternoon, as customers frequented the restaurant, a beauty salon, an insurance sales office and other businesses at 3302 Q St.

“We are continuing to operate in the normal course of business,” said Kathryn Derr, La Cuadra's bankruptcy attorney for the Omaha firm Berkshire & Burmeister.

A spokeswoman for Great Western Bank said the company had no comment on the matter.

The bankruptcy papers do not list a schedule of lenders and amounts owed. A list of creditors not holding collateral is led by an Omaha tax preparer owed about $4,500, suggesting that the bulk of the debt is owed to lenders.

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