Land proposed for a new shopping center in Atascadero sold last week for $2.5 million to the developer’s lender, Montecito Bank & Trust in Santa Barbara.
It could not be learned why the bank — which had foreclosed on the property, leading to the public auction May 8 — bought the land. Nor could it be learned what this means for The Annex, a 120,000-square-foot retail and dining project The Rottman Group wants to build on the site at Del Rio Road and El Camino Real.
As of close of business Monday, the Annex application was still before the city of Atascadero.
The Rottman Group, based in Santa Barbara, has sought to build The Annex across from a proposed Walmart store on the city’s north end.
The two projects are separate, but the ways their developments could impact the area were studied together. The city is still slated to continue public hearings on whether to approve the projects in early June. Current plans call for both projects to contribute money to road improvements.
Atascadero city officials plan to meet with Montecito Bank & Trust this week to determine whether the bank will continue with the project, Assistant City Manager Jim Lewis said.
“The city is very interested in keeping the project,” he added. “We’re going to recommend going forward with it, and we’ll walk them through what that means.”
An attorney for Montecito Bank & Trust declined to comment, adding that the bank may elaborate in the future.
Attorneys for The Rottman Group could not be reached, and company officials did not return repeated calls for comment.
Montecito Bank & Trust sued The Rottman Group last year for defaulting on $6.2 million in loans for several assets, including the land slated for The Annex, according to a 2011 filing at Santa Barbara County Superior Court. The case is still open; its next hearing is set for June 4, according to the court.
Montecito Bank & Trust submitted the highest bid for The Annex parcels — four lots along El Camino Real and one lot along Del Rio Road — at the public auction behind the San Luis Obispo County Government Center, according to Woodland Hills-based Asset Foreclosure Services, which handled the auction. It declined to disclose details of the other bids.