News

Gateway Center enters bankruptcy

By ERICA JAHN

Staff writer

Federal Way’s Gateway Center is in bankruptcy court, but businesses located in the shopping and commercial center, located near South 320th Street and 25th Avenue South, shouldn’t see a difference in day-to-day operations.

“It’s business as usual,” said John Sulcs, store manager of the Federal Way REI, which is located in Gateway Center. “The management company is taking care of business. Nothing has changed.”

Seattle attorney Michael Feinberg electronically filed the voluntary Chapter 11 reorganization petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court Feb. 18. He declined Monday to comment on the case.

The filing will keep creditors at bay while Gateway Center reorganizes its debts, estimated on court documents to be between $10 million and $50 million.

Seattle attorney Jim Day is representing FIR Associates, a partner in Federal Way Joint Venture, which owns and operates Gateway Center. South 320th Federal Way Partnership is the other partner in Federal Way Joint Venture. The two joined in the 1980s.

According to a Seattle Times report, FIR Associates allegedly filed the petition because members suspected South 320th officials were mismanaging money.

But Gateway Center president Dan Casey, a principal in the South 320th group, said he suspects the petition was filed by a minority partner out of a concern that a loan taken out to pay for part of the construction project at Gateway was coming due and wouldn’t be refinanced in time.

“In fact, we had secured the funding,” Casey said. “We had the funding arranged to pay for that.”

Casey said the bankruptcy petition caught him by surprise, but he added he thinks everything will work out.

“We can work through the concerns and show how this thing can meet obligations and proceed,” he said.

Businesses at Gateway include the Galaxy 8 movie theater, which Casey announced last year would be renovated and expanded into a 12-screen multiplex starting in 2003. He said recently that the multi-million-dollar project will go forward.

Staff writer Erica Jahn: 925-5565 and by e-mail at ejahn@fedwaymirror.com

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