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Judge Approves Plan for Delayed Ritter Ranch

March 21, 2000|Bloomberg News Service

A long-delayed major property development in Palmdale may resume this summer and restore a defaulted property-improvement bond issue under a bankruptcy court plan.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Geraldine Mund in Woodland Hills recently approved a plan that lets new developers tackle a master-planned community on 7,000 acres of land known as Ritter Ranch. As part of the plan, they must pay past-due interest and principal on land-backed bonds.

The city of Palmdale does not back the debt.

The Ritter Ranch bonds have been in and out of default since 1998, and past-due interest payments total about $5 million. Some bonds were redeemed previously, and about $40 million remain outstanding; $33 million of them are owned by the Franklin Templeton Group of mutual funds, and the remaining $7 million are owned by individual investors. The current development plan includes several schools, commercial property and parklands, in addition to homes.

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