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NWCC dodges foreclosure bullet

Just days before key investors were prepared to foreclose on his Northwest Corporate Campus holdings, Bremerton-based developer Ron Sciepko orchestrated a stay of execution he said will allow him to start construction on the long-delayed campus project.

In 1991 Sciepko started acquiring the land that would eventually become the 377-acre NWCC — located between McCor-mick Woods and State Route 16 in South Kitsap. In 1999, the same year he acquired his last properties in the project area, Sciepko signed a $2 million promissory note with Woodinville-based investor Edward W. Scripps.

The money, along with funds from other investors, would have allowed Sciepko to start construction on a 188-acre office park and a 56-acre planned residential community.

However, as the local economy went steadily downhill, Sciepko was forced to delay development of the parcel.

In the meantime, Sciepko said he made some payments on his various loans but was unable to pay a cent on the Scripps promissory note. The interest on the note, which started at 23 percent annually, climbed to 25 percent and the non-payment penalties — worth 5 percent of the unpaid installment — began to add up.

At present, Sciepko owes more than $4 million on the $2 million promissory note. Scripps lawyer, Allen Sakai, said the foreclosure was simply an attempt for his client to recoup the money Sciepko owed him.

“Finally, my client got tired of him missing payments,” Sakai said. “We decided this would be the best way to get the money back.”

Sakai was scheduled to put Sciepko’s property up for auction on Friday. On Wednesday, Scripps decided to give Sciepko until Sept. 19 to pay off the note.

Sciepko, however, said he won’t need that long. He said he is currently in closing with a confidential lender that will allow him to refinance all his debts — about $12 million worth.

Other lenders who were processing or considering foreclosures against Sciepko have also halted proceedings, pending the refinance deal.

“People have been so good and so cooperative and this is an example of that,” Sciepko said. “We needed more time on our financing and they gave it to us.”

Once the financial problems are wrapped up, Sciepko said he plans to get started immediately on completing infrastructure requirements for the NWCC site. His goal is to finish work on the remaining roads, water and sewer systems, power grid and fiber optics access by the end of this summer.

Sciepko hopes to get the first building up within the next 18 months.

“We’re still pressing forward,” he said. “Nothing has changed. We’re trying to make this the address to have and the place to be.”

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