BEND, Ore. -

iStar Financial, a residential development firm based in New York City, acquired through foreclosure on Friday 159 residential lots it plans to market at the Tetherow destination resort west of Bend, saying it "sees great potential" and plans improvements at the development.

The property was acquired through foreclosure from TD Cascade Highlands of Eugene. A company representative said iStar acquired the lots without cost in the transaction, by assuming the collateral on a failed loan it previously made to Cascade Highlands.

“We believe strongly in Tetherow’s prospects going forward," said Eric Brooks, iStar Financial's vice president of land.

"The community delivers a unique mix of attributes that we feel are perfectly suited to Bend’s active lifestyle and contemporary aesthetic. We are already working with the community’s other developers to make enhancements with the intent of helping Tetherow realize its original potential,” he said.

Tetherow is a 700-acre destination resort featuring a unique, world-class golf course designed by acclaimed architect David McLay Kidd punctuated by single-family home sites, townhomes and first-class amenities.

Overnight lodging offerings are also in the works, they said.

"Located on Bend’s west side, on the way to Mt. Bachelor, the resort also offers easy access to Central Oregon’s abundant outdoor recreational opportunities and Bend’s vibrant downtown area," the announcement news release said.

Through the acquisition, iStar Financial now controls 159 residential lots and becomes Tetherow’s "master declarant." As such, the company stated that its work will extend to improvements to many public areas of the community.

“We plan to invest in a number of enhancements at Tetherow beyond the borders of the lots we own, and we’re excited by the progress being made by the other owners,” said Jan Cooper, iStar's financial vice president for sales and strategic marketing.

“There is a lot of positive energy at Tetherow today and we plan to get started immediately to restore the vision for the community,” Cooper said.

iStar Financial expects its acquisition will contribute to the sales momentum that has been building recently at Tetherow.

Lot sales in Tetherow have gained velocity in 2012, with 12 transactions since the beginning of the year. Membership in the golf course at Tetherow has also doubled in the past 18 months, they said.

Tetherow is not iStar Financial’s first development project. Over the past several years, it has assumed ownership of more than 20 land assets across the U.S through the foreclosure process.

One of the things the company quickly realized was that the assets were in solid locations and markets. The company made the strategic decision NOT to discard the assets at discounted values, but rather to build a land development team within the organization to manage these assets.

The company now has almost 20 people focused on building a top-tier development company within iStar that will create a $1-billion-plus leader in the industry.

About Tetherow

Tetherow is a 700-acre golf and recreational planned resort community cradled beneath the snow-capped Cascade peaks and situated among the Ponderosa pines of the Deschutes National Forest. Built around the award winning, David McLay Kid-designed Tetherow Golf Course, the community offers single-family home sites as well as townhome living. Tetherow also has the potential to deliver overnight lodging options and other amenities. Learn more at http://tetherow.com/

About iStar Financial

iStar is one of the largest investors in luxury condominium, multifamily and master-planned residential developments throughout the United States, having financed and invested $10 billion in residential projects since 1993. iStar's portfolio has included interests in over 18,000 condominium units in the nation's top markets and 65,000 acres in master planned communities having the potential for an estimated 50,000 single family and multifamily units.

The company's unique, fully integrated platform extends from property acquisition, entitlement development and construction, through financing, asset, property and portfolio management.

iStar Financial is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "SFI". Additional information on iStar Financial is available on the Company's website at www.istarfinancial.com.