Lender seizes shopping center on Plank Road

First NBC Bank, of New Orleans, has seized the Brookwood Village Shopping Center at 12200 Plank Road in Baton Rouge and will sell it at auction, according to records at the East Baton Rouge Parish Clerk of Court’s Office.

The bank’s lawsuit, filed in 19th Judicial District Court, says it loaned Plank Road Venture LLC $2.2 million in September 2009, then restructured the loan roughly a year later.

Plank Road Venture, owned by New Orleans businessman Larry Willis Jr., has defaulted on the loan and owes the bank $2.1 million, documents show.

The bank also says Plank Road Venture has defaulted on a promissory note securing a $100,000 line of credit and owes an additional $204,000.

A 19th Judicial District Court judge granted the seizure order on July 18.

Willis said Monday he hadn’t been notified of the legal proceedings and was shocked to hear the property had been seized.

Willis said he has had a difficult time bringing in a grocery store to anchor the development and to draw more retailers to the center.

“It’s been hard to get tenants. Everybody I talked to, and I’ve had agents for national tenants out here, was just scared to do anything because of the economy,” Willis said.

The shopping center is home to a Rite Aid, Fresenius Medical Care, a Grand Wall Chinese Restaurant and a church, he said.

Officials with First NBC could not be reached for comment Monday.

Willis said, as far as he knew, he was still working out an arrangement with First NBC.