Old Globe foreclosedAn urban logging company featured on the History Channel’s “Ax Men” series has three months to find a buyer before its forest, the Old Globe grain elevator, goes to a sheriff’s sale.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
An urban logging company featured on the History Channel’s “Ax Men” series has three months to find a buyer before its forest, the Old Globe grain elevator, goes to a sheriff’s sale.
A foreclosure judgment was entered Wednesday in Douglas County Circuit Court against North Superior Partners LLC, Wisconsin Woodchuck LLC, David Hozza, Judith Peres and Michael Zurakov for nearly $843,000. The move is a continuation of foreclosure proceedings lender Superior Choice Credit Union began in November 2011, which stalled when the lumber company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a month later.
The business and SCCU entered an agreement in which the loggers would come out of bankruptcy protection and pay reduced payments through May as they actively sought buyers or refinancing options. They did not make the May 24 payment of $3,500.
“We just ran out of gas and stopped making payments,” Hozza said. The group has been courting potential buyers, but their determination to save the elevators’ millions of board feet of old-growth pine has made that task more difficult.
“There’s interest,” Hozza said. “We do not have any hard offers.”
Time to find a solution appears to have run out. SCCU officials came down to the Old Globe site Monday and seized the property, according to Hozza. He and Peres were evicted and locked out.
“It’s all over; it’s all done,” Hozza said.
According to the foreclosure judgment, the company has three months before the elevator buildings and equipment will go on the block at a sheriff’s sale. The full amount would have to be paid to stave off the sale, according to Joel Braun, vice president of commercial lending for SCCU. Last week, he indicated that North Superior Partners and Wisconsin Woodchuck could potentially operate.
Calls to Braun Monday were not returned by press time.
Most of the wood that has already been reclaimed from the buildings was sold over the winter, Hozza said. Grain-eroded slabs and a small amount of dimensional wood remain. It’s unlikely that the de-construction operation would have started up this summer regardless of any credit union actions. Hozza said it would take close to a month to gear up.
“It’s not as simple as going outside, turning the crane on, taking a chain saw” and cutting down a wall, he said.
When the Woodchucks debuted on national television this winter, they also launched a crowd-funding campaign to keep the business afloat. The project raised $8,697, far short of the needed $56,000. It turned out that “Ax Men” wasn’t a good fit for the Superior business.
“We were the wrong crew for that particular audience,” Hozza said. But they did land more coverage, this time from PBS’ “Hometime” show. The program featured Old Globe timbers being installed in a home.
“That blew the cork out of the bottle,” Hozza said, and the show has prompted lots of calls from PBS viewers. Peres announced last week that Old Globe reclaimed wood will be the centerpiece of Chicago-based franchise, Forever Yogurt.
The subcontractor providing wood for the shops will use their stockpile of Old Globe wood until it’s gone, Hozza said.
Although the Woodchucks hope a buyer who plans to harvest Superior’s waterfront forest steps forward, it’s in the credit union’s hands now.
“We’re out of it,” Hozza said.
For more information on the logging company, go to www.oldglobewood.com.