Freestyle Music Park mortgages with foreign lender

From the Carolina Forest Chronicle

By Michael Smith

MYRTLE BEACH, SC Freestyle Music Park's new owners have signed a $20 million mortgage with a foreign lender, fueling more speculation that the theme park may be planning to reopen.

FPI US LLC, which purchased Freestyle out of foreclosure last summer, is listed as the mortgagor in documents filed Dec. 22, 2011 with the Horry County Register of Deeds office.

The mortgagee is identified as Ysanne Trading Limited, a company organized and existing under the laws of the British Virgin Islands and based in Nicosia, Cyprus, documents show.

The $20 million mortgage was recorded nearly five months after FPI US bought the park for $7 million at a foreclosure auction Aug. 1, 2011.

Property records identify FPI US as the lender to FPI MB Entertainment, previous owners of Freestyle Music Park.

FPI MB bought the park out of bankruptcy for $25 million in February 2009, but the park fell into bankruptcy later that year.

FPI US was the approved bidder at the Aug. 1 foreclosure sale, according to a letter from Horry County Master in Equity Cynthia Graham Howe.

A deed from the Aug. 1 foreclosure sale was also filed Dec. 22, immediately before the $20 million mortgage was signed, records show.

David Slough, an attorney representing FPI US, couldn't be reached for comment as of this posting.

In an Aug. 8, 2011 e-mail to the Chronicle, Slough said his clients had three options. The owners could sell the park, lease it to a third party or try to re-open it, he said.

"Since the foreclosure just occurred, no decisions have been made on either of these options," Slough said. "At this time, there is no paperwork from the foreclosure sale showing the sales price of $7 million.  A deed will be entered in the next few weeks conveying title from the Master in Equity."

Now that the deed has been entered, the $20 million loan could suggest Freestyle's new owners are preparing to re-open the park, said Brad Lofton, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

"That's what it sounds like to me, unless they're using that site as collateral to finance another site, but that's unlikely," Lofton said.

If the park is preparing to reopen, it would represent the second major property development in the Fantasy Harbour area this year.

On Dec. 30, 2011, General Electric Credit Equities sold 52.29 acres at the old Waccamaw Pottery to Num 3W LLC for $7.5 million, according to the Horry County Register of Deeds office. The new investors plan to revitalize the old malls.

Lofton said revitalization of the both the park and malls would be an extremely positive development for the Fantasy Harbour area.

"I think they [Freestyle and Waccamaw Pottery] provide a synergy for each other," he said. "Folks going to the theme park would patronize the food court and retail areas of the mall."

Holley McMillen, sales manager for the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center, which is located near both sites, said reopening the park would be a major boon for the hotel.

"Maybe that means they are putting money into the park and hopefully reopening it," McMillen said. "Whether they could reopen by the summer I don't know. If they were to reopen they would need to hustle."

Reopening the park, originally built and packaged as Hard Rock Park, wouldn't be impossible.

FPI MB Entertainment reopened Freestyle Music Park on May 23, 2009 after purchasing it out of bankruptcy on Feb. 19, 2009.

More details of this developing story will be posted as they become available.