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Foreclosure process initiated on more than 600 acres of Banbury Cross Polo Field co-owner’s land

One of the pieces of the more than 600 acres of the Traveller’s Rest property in the foreclosure process.
More than 600 acres of a property in Middleburg jointly owned by Nelson Gunnell, the co-owner of Banbury Cross Polo Field, is in the process of being foreclosed.

The announcement of the foreclosure comes after Gunnell told the Times-Mirror in May about his plans to add a new sporting clubhouse and 40-room country inn on his polo field that sits on a 62-acre property next to the more than 600 acres of land owned by Traveller’s Rest, LLC, which Gunnell and Alfred Rogers Smithwick jointly own.

Last month, Gunnell said he planned to have a formal proposal for the sporting clubhouse and country inn submitted to the county within the next three months.

A legal notice published last week states five parcels on the Traveller’s Rest property totaling more than 616 acres are scheduled to be auctioned off Friday at 9 a.m. in front of the Loudoun County Circuit Court Courthouse. The notice states the property will be sold “in the aggregate” and not as individual parcels.

Additionally, the notice states a minimum bid of $5 million will be required at the start of the sale and that a deposit “in an amount equal to the lesser of 10 percent of the successful bid amount,” or the amount of $500,000 by certified cashier’s check, must be delivered to the trustee immediately following the sale.

Court documents show the assignment last summer of a credit line deed of trust promissory note dated Oct. 5, 2015, in the original principal sum of $4 million executed by Traveller’s Rest, LLC was transferred from Marshall Capital LC to the Bank of Clarke County.

More recent court filings from early May show that Traveller’s Rest, LLC appointed REO Sales LLC, as the substitute trustee of the property. Representing REO Sales is the Leesburg-based law firm Culbert & Schmitt.

David Culbert of Culbert & Schmitt declined to comment on the foreclosure, and Gunnell could not immediately be reached for comment.

Typically, if a property owner defaults on a mortgage, the lender may appoint a substitute trustee to carry out the foreclosure, according to Legal Zoom.

Before announcing his latest plans for a 40-room country inn, Gunnell’s polo field was the cause of weeks of speculation in Middleburg after a detailed plan for a 120-room inn and sporting club at the Banbury Cross was circulated around social media.

The longtime Middleburg resident told the Times-Mirror in May he had since abandoned that plan.

“There’s been no decision, and nor do I see one on the horizon, to put in a 120-room inn,” Gunnell said.

Many local residents voiced opposition to the the early 120-room inn proposal on social media. Some likened it to the 168-room Salamander Resort & Spa, which also faced stiff opposition at the outset from local residents and environmentalists.


600 acres without zoning approval, development permits and water & sewer it is just a big corn field with a flashy 36 page brochure!

600 acres in Middleburg up for auction is likely to bring in some big money bids. A starting bid of $5/m an acre is peanuts. I’d expect the sale to end up around $10-12/million.

Wow.  You could fit thousands of working class townhouses on that property.

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