A major property owner in John's Pass Village filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday, hoping to reorganize rather than face foreclosure.
Hubbard Properties, a family business in Madeira Beach that started with fishing boats in the 1930s, had struggled since 2008 when the financial crisis hit shortly after a multimillion-dollar expansion.
"We're left with no alternative to try to save our family's property," chief executive officer Patricia Hubbard said.
The company's top creditor, lender Investors Warranty of America, moved to foreclose in December, prompting the Chapter 11 filing, she said.
Hubbard hopes court proceedings will give the company time to renegotiate payment on the $22 million loan as business improves.
As the economy faltered in 2009, occupancy at the waterfront collection of shops and restaurants fell from 97 percent to 63 percent. Construction of a new John's Pass Bridge disrupted traffic. Reverberations challenged other Hubbard family businesses, such as the Friendly Fisherman Restaurant and Hubbard's Marina.
In 2010, a freezing winter and the BP oil spill again slashed business.
Now, a new Hooters restaurant opens in two weeks, pushing occupancy up to 75 percent. The new bridge is open. Winter visitors are already up, Hubbard said — the Friendly Fisherman was full Thursday. She's talking with more prospective tenants.
"We just need time," she said.