Archive for February, 2012

AZ Central – 5700 apartment units planned for Scottsdale

by Peter Corbett – Feb. 28, 2012 12:38 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

A condominium-development bust in Scottsdale has given way to a boom of developers lining up to build 5,700 apartments in 18 projects citywide.

Optima Sonoran Village is the first project to get its building permits and start initial site work for a 10-acre property southeast of Camelback Road and 68th Street. Optima is primarily a condo development with rental units available, spokeswoman Susan Bitter Smith said.

 A half-mile to the east, Gray Development is planning a $170 million apartment project with 749 units in three buildings with a height limit of 128 feet northeast of Scottsdale and Camelback roads.

“We’re going crazy with apartments just like we went crazy with condos,” said Councilman Bob Littlefield, of a development cycle that fizzled four years ago with the housing-market crash and recession.

Littlefield and Councilwoman Lisa Borowsky have opposed recent apartment zoning cases and expressed concerns about the growing number of apartment projects throughout the city.

But other city officials are not alarmed.

City Manager Dave Richert said the surge is part of the development cycle.

“Financing is available right now for multifamily development,” Richert said. “But not all of them will get built.”

Planning Director Tim Curtis said his department has not calculated the number of apartment units planned in the city.

“We haven’t been tracking what’s rental or condos,” Curtis said. “We just deal with multifamily residential and whether it is compatible with the surrounding uses.”

The Arizona Republic tallied 5,721 units in 18 projects based on plans developers have submitted to the city.

Dan Symer, Scottsdale senior planner, said he is hearing from planning colleagues throughout the Valley about a surge in proposed apartment development.

“It’s whoever gets there first,” Symer said in reference to which projects will proceed.

CBRE, a real-estate company that tracks the market, reported there are 48 apartment projects in the pipeline in metro Phoenix of at least 100 units.

Littlefield said developers have a herd mentality.

“We should definitely put the brakes on” and plan for the long term, not short-term fixes, he said.

Nearly two-thirds of the proposed units are downtown and along McDowell Road.

That includes the Scottsdale Waterfront project just south of the Nordstrom parking garage on a 3.35-acre site that was recently sold.

Broadstone Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, a partnership between Alliance Residential and JP Morgan Asset Management, bought the property from Scottsdale Waterfront LLC for $13.5 million.Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial announced the deal Friday.

David Fogler, Cassidy Turley executive vice president, said apartment developers are buying prime properties they would not have been able to buy four years ago and they will not be able to buy four years from now.

“Those properties will go for higher and better uses than apartment development,” he said.

Fogler agreed with others that not all the proposed apartments will get built.

“Capital to build apartments is still very selective,” he said. “Only the best deals will get built first. If those are successful you’ll see other properties come online.”

The Scottsdale Waterfront developers hope to start construction of 259 apartments by the end of the year and deliver some units by the end of 2013, Fogler said.

No new apartments have been built downtown in a decade, although the Ten Wine Lofts near Osborn and Scottsdale roads, originally planned as for-sale units, were converted to apartments last year.

Optima Sonoran Village is expected to complete its first phase of 210 units in a seven-story building by September 2013. Optima was approved for 493 units but has requested changes to allow another 200 in a later phase, according to spokeswoman Smith.

The McDowell Road corridor also is seeing developer interest. Mark-Taylor Residential Inc. is planning 536units at 74th Street, and SkySong, the ASU Scottsdale Innovation Center, has plans for 325 units. Nancy Cantor, a member of the city’s Neighborhood Advisory Commission, said preliminary plans have also surfaced for apartments on the former Petrie Buick site at 64th Street and McDowell.

“More rooftops will usher in more retail” and economic revitalization, Cantor said.

Trulia – 4 Reasons Consuers Still Need an Agent

In a world where the Internet makes marketing miracles possible and home data seems to flow free, every once in a while you’ll hear of someone attempting to buy or sell without an agent.

While some stories speak of success, they also reveal the time, expertise, and energy that go into a sale and the un-debateable benefits of having an agent.

Here are 4 ways a recent story of an Australian owner taking charge of his property marketing showed marketing and managing a home is a whole job and why now more than ever smart consumers need to use a real estate agent:

From the Herald Sun:

“Northcote man Kurt Opray sold his Californian bungalow for $1.05 million at the weekend, $135,000 above his reserve.”

1) Online Marketing Takes Coordinated Constant Effort

From TheMoveChannel.Com: “The Northcote home… had its own blog and YouTube [offering] updates in advance of his home’s auction,”

This Northcote story is proof of two things. The first, online marketing works. Opray’s home sold for $135,000 more than asking price as a result of the competition he drummed up online.

The second epiphany is that online marketing is a fulltime job. Unlike most owners who consider marketing alone, Opray has extensive experience as a social media and online marketer. Most sellers don’t have this level of expertise and don’t have the ability to focus day and night on the sale of their home.

Consumers STILL need Agents: Agents need to show sellers a detailed marketing plan for their home and keep them up to date on what’s happening with their property. Tools like Client Listing Reports can be a big help with the latter.

2) Having data doesn’t mean you understand it

Opray was quoted in the National Business Review, “I know my house better than any agent. Who better to sell the house than me?”

The comment is typical of many amateurs who don’t realize you can know a home (or so you think) and still be clueless about the market.

Understanding how to read market facts is key in moving a listing today. That’s expertise that only focus and real experience can provide.

Consumers STILL need agents: Don’t be afraid to pull out the data guns and give prospective clients a local market overview that demonstrates the hard-earned knowledge you bring to the table … Trulia’s Local Pages and can help by putting data in an easily to view format, at your fingertips.

3) Showings and Connections sell homes

From TheMoveChannel.Com: “Opray aimed to bring as many buyers to the home’s blog as possible, giving them a personal insight into the house.””

Opray had to scare up a following and create connections online to sell his property. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were someone out there who was already tapped into a network of people buying and selling?

Consumers STILL Need Agents: When it comes to proving your value, don’t forget your connections in your local and agent community matter. Don’t be afraid to flex your knowledge of local listings and buyers to impress your clients and remind them (subtly of course) of all that you bring to the table.

4) Even the smartest use an agent for expertise

Despite all that Opray did to help sell his home on his own, in the end even he (the genius social marketer) hired an agent.

Despite all the online resources available to home-owners today, it’s clear that they still need agents to help sell their homes. Don’t doubt the value that you can offer to potential clients! Use these points in your listing presentations to demonstrate that transactions can’t happen without you.

AZ Central – Report: Upbeat findings for Arizona housing market

by Catherine Reagor – Feb. 23, 2012 06:35 PM

The Arizona Republic | azcentral.com

Metro Phoenix home prices are up. Fewer inexpensive homes are for sale, and the number of pending foreclosures is down.

The positive housing-market update comes from Arizona State University’s newest real-estate report.

It’s the first monthly housing analysis from Mike Orr, who was recently named director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice for ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

“Single-family home prices overall in the Phoenix area have been moving up since they reached a low point in September,” Orr said in his debut monthly housing report.

“Also, looking forward, I expect a declining trend in foreclosures.”

Orr also publishes a daily online analysis of Phoenix-area housing indicators called the “Cromford Report.”

The median price of all home sales, including new homes, reached $120,500 in January of this year, Orr reports. That compares with $113,166 a year earlier.

The average price per square foot of Valley houses has climbed 3 percent since last year.

There were approximately 8,000 new and used homes sold in January, up from 7,500 in January 2011.

Orr said investors have snatched up the oversupply of homes for sale under $300,000.

“Many people think there’s a glut of homes the banks are hiding somewhere, and that may be the case in other markets, but not here in the Phoenix area,” he said.

“We’ve gone through so many foreclosures that the system has been working itself out for about five years.”

In January, there were 2,450 single-family foreclosures in both Maricopa and Pinal counties, compared with 4,200 during January 2011, according to the ASU report.

The supply of homes listed for sale in metro Phoenix is down 42 percent from a year earlier.

Home prices fell in Dec. in most US cities

 by DEREK KRAVITZ – Feb. 28, 2012 07:11 AM
AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – — Home prices fell in December for a fourth straight month in most major U.S. cities, as modest sales gains in the depressed housing market have yet to lift prices.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home-price index shows prices dropped in December from November in 18 of the 20 cities tracked. The steepest declines were in Atlanta, Chicago and Detroit. Miami and Phoenix were the only cities to show an increase.

The declines partly reflect the typical slowdown that comes in the fall and winter.

Still, prices fell in 19 of the 20 cities in December compared to the same month in 2010. Only Detroit posted a year-over-year increase.

Prices have fallen 34 percent nationwide since the housing bust, to 2002 levels.

AZ Central – Broadstone buys Scottsdale parcel

by J. Craig Anderson – Feb. 27, 2012 06:23 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com

Broadstone Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, a partnership between Alliance Residential Co. and J.P. Morgan Asset Management, has purchased a 3.4-acre parcel for $13.5 million at the Scottsdale Waterfront, just south of the southeastern corner of Goldwater Boulevard and Camelback Road, a broker involved in the deal said.

Phoenix-based Alliance Residential plans to build a 259-unit luxury-apartment community on the property, adjacent to Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, according to commercial-real-estate firm Cassidy Turley BRE Commercial in Phoenix.

Cassidy Turley Executive Vice Presidents David Fogler, Steve Nicoluzakis and Don Arones represented the seller, Scottsdale Waterfront LLC, a partnership between Starwood Capital Group and Chicago-based Golub & Co.

With the apartment-vacancy rate hovering around 10 percent, at least 5,000 apartment units are under construction or in the planning stages in the Phoenix area, local real-estate analysts have said.

Apartment projects under way include a 270-unit Alliance Residential community at the southeastern corner of Camelback and Esplanade Lanein Phoenix and a 264-unit community at the northwestern corner of Scottsdale Road and Lincoln Drive in Scottsdale.

AZ Central – Suncor Development files for bankruptcy

by J. Craig Anderson – Feb. 27, 2012 06:23 PM

The Republic | azcentral.com

Pinnacle West Capital Corp. subsidiary and once-prominent local developer SunCor Development Co. has filed petitions in U.S. Bankruptcy Court as a final step toward dissolving the company and its remaining subsidiaries.

Tempe-based SunCor Development’s board of directors signed a resolution Friday authorizing the voluntary bankruptcy filing, which includes 17 SunCor subsidiaries.

Those subsidiaries include SunCor Construction Inc., SunCor Golf Inc. and Suncor Homes Inc., along with SunCor subsidiaries in Idaho, New Mexico and Utah, and several limited-liability companies formed around specific SunCor real-estate projects.

Most of the entities listed in the bankruptcy petition are essentially shell companies with few assets or liabilities, court documents show.

Incorporated in 1986, SunCor grew to become one of the Southwest’s most prominent developers in the 1990s and early 2000s, developing residential communities, golf courses and commercial-real-estate projects.

At the peak of its success in 2005, SunCor had nearly 800 employees, according to Pinnacle West.

The company ran into serious financial trouble in 2008, after the collapse of both the residential and commercial real-estate markets.

Pinnacle West said in 2009 it would try to sell many of its real-estate holdings to focus on its core business, providing electricity through subsidiary Arizona Public Service Co.

SunCor officials initially had planned to keep about $70 million in commercial-real-estate holdings and sell about $400 million in housing assets, but the company later decided to place all assets up for sale, including its remaining Hayden Ferry Lakeside properties in Tempe.

Many of SunCor’s real-estate assets were purchased in 2010 by local master-planned community developer Sunbelt Holdings. The rest were sold to other buyers or were repossessed by lenders.

The only company listed in the bankruptcy petition with stated financial liabilities of more than $50,000 is SunCor subsidiary Sedona Golf Resort LC, which has stated liabilities of $100,000 to $500,000.

Phoenix attorney Thomas Salerno, who is representing SunCor in the bankruptcy case, said filing for Chapter 11 reorganization, and not Chapter 7 liquidation, allows the company’s current board of directors, led by authorized representative Joseph Lapinsky, to oversee the final dissolution of SunCor.

Under Chapter 7, the companies would have been handed over to a court-appointed trustee who would necessarily lack a deep understanding of the company’s financial situation and history, Salerno said.

Salerno said the goal of the bankruptcy proceeding is to deal with any remaining, miscellaneous debts owed by the company and its subsidiaries prior to dissolution.

“This process will resolve those remaining liabilities,” he said.

AZ Central – Senior housing options expanding in Scottsdale

by Peter Corbett – Feb. 24, 2012 09:18 AM
The Republic | azcentral.com

Senior housing continues to be an active part of the Scottsdale real estate market with the opening this week of an assisted-living center and another senior resort coming this summer.

Belmont Village Scottsdale is a three-story, 100,000-square-foot senior-housing community with 136 units southeast of 100th Street and Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard. Its first residents moved in this week and a grand opening is set for Saturday.

The contemporary design with bright lighting and colors follows Houston-based Belmont’s concepts developed in its previous 20 communities in seven states.

“We give equal weight to form and function,” said Patricia Will, Belmont chief executive.

Belmont Village Scottsdale includes wider hallways to hasten mobility for residents in wheelchairs or using walkers, smaller-scale chairs with sturdy arms that make it easier to stand up and even large-type computer keyboards and telephones for easier reading.

The new senior community is one of a handful of developments that have emerged in the last two years in the Northeast Valley with more than 1,000 housing units.

Arte and Vi at Silverstone, both in Scottsdale, and Sagewood in Phoenix all opened in 2010.

Sagewood, a resort-style senior community southwest of Tatum and Mayo boulevards, opened its villas this week. The development is a joint venture of Life Care Services of Des Moines, Iowa, and the Westminster Funds.

Sagewood’s units of 1,837 to 1,907 square feet are priced from $802,300 to $860,500 with 80 percent of that buy-in fee refunded to a resident’s estate.

Maravilla plans May opening

Another resort-style community, Maravilla Scottsdale, is scheduled for completion in May just west of the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. Developed by the Senior Resource Group of San Diego, it will have 217 residences, including 36 assisted-living units and 24 memory-care units on a 25-acre site.

Maravilla’s 900-square-foot independent-living residence has an initial buy-in fee of about $240,000 plus a $1,900 monthly fee for meals and other services. Residents can also pay more up front, about $481,000, for that same residence but 90 percent of that buy-in fee is refundable.

Belmont Village, which is on a 4.17-acre site with a courtyard pool and a walking path, has no buy-in fee. Month-to-month fees start at $3,390 and most residents will pay between $4,000 to $5,000 for a studio or one-bedroom unit depending on their services, said Debbie Whipple, Belmont Village Scottsdale executive director.

The community includes 25 units for residents with Alzheimer’s disease or dimentia. Belmont also provides special care and activities for residents with mild-cognitive impairment.

Belmont will have a staff of about 65 workers initially and up to 100 when it’s fully occupied, Whipple said. That includes licensed nurses, who are on duty 24 hours per day to provide medications and monitor insulin treatment.

Social activities emphasized

Belmont offers Josephine’s Kitchen, a restaurant-style dining area for daily meals. and the Bistro, where residents can pick up their mail and gather for snacks, coffee and tea.

The Bistro is designed to encourage residents to get out of their apartment to socialize, said Belmont spokeswoman Julie Walke.

Belmont also offers fitness classes, a wellness center, library, pool tables and a shaded courtyard.

The building was designed by Morris Architects and built by W.E. O’Neil Construction Company of Arizona.

The adjacent 6.7-acre property is zoned for a neighborhood shopping center. Nathan & Associates has a sales listing for the site.

AZ Central – Report: Upbeat findings for Arizona housing market

by Catherine Reagor – Feb. 23, 2012 06:35 PM
The Arizona Republic | azcentral.com

Metro Phoenix home prices are up. Fewer inexpensive homes are for sale, and the number of pending foreclosures is down.

The positive housing-market update comes from Arizona State University’s newest real-estate report.

It’s the first monthly housing analysis from Mike Orr, who was recently named director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice for ASU’s W.P. Carey School of Business.

“Single-family home prices overall in the Phoenix area have been moving up since they reached a low point in September,” Orr said in his debut monthly housing report.

“Also, looking forward, I expect a declining trend in foreclosures.”

Orr also publishes a daily online analysis of Phoenix-area housing indicators called the “Cromford Report.”

The median price of all home sales, including new homes, reached $120,500 in January of this year, Orr reports. That compares with $113,166 a year earlier.

The average price per square foot of Valley houses has climbed 3 percent since last year.

There were approximately 8,000 new and used homes sold in January, up from 7,500 in January 2011.

Orr said investors have snatched up the oversupply of homes for sale under $300,000.

“Many people think there’s a glut of homes the banks are hiding somewhere, and that may be the case in other markets, but not here in the Phoenix area,” he said.

“We’ve gone through so many foreclosures that the system has been working itself out for about five years.”

In January, there were 2,450 single-family foreclosures in both Maricopa and Pinal counties, compared with 4,200 during January 2011, according to the ASU report.

The supply of homes listed for sale in metro Phoenix is down 42 percent from a year earlier.

AZ Central – Lenders embrace more short sales

Julie Schmit – Feb. 20, 2012 10:42 AM
USA TODAY

Lenders are allowing more short sales by financially strapped homeowners and a few people are even getting cash to complete the sale.

Short sales are when lenders allow borrowers to sell homes for less than their unpaid mortgages. They are an alternative to foreclosures.

Short sales have been increasing for months, but the financial incentives — which Realtors say are random and infrequent — are a newer wrinkle.

Examples:

- JPMorgan Chase went national with short-sale incentive offers last year, paying up to $35,000 in some cases.

- Bank of America is testing incentives from $5,000 to $25,000 in Florida to see if they should be expanded to more states. The Florida program began last fall, spokesman Richard Simon says.

- Wells Fargo’s incentive offers range from less than $3,000 to $20,000, spokesman James Hines says.

Short sales, even with incentive payments to borrowers, can save lenders money compared with the expenses involved in completing foreclosures.

In states such as Florida where foreclosures go through the courts, 50% of loans in foreclosure are more than two years past due, says a January report by mortgage tracker LPS Applied Analytics.

“It’s a lot cheaper to shell out $10,000 or $20,000 to someone than it is to go through a long foreclosure,” says Jim Gillespie, chief executive of Coldwell Banker.

Banks are more willing to do short sales now than in the past, Gillespie says. Cash incentives appear to be “limited but increasing” in number, he adds.

“When a loan modification isn’t possible, a short sale may be a better and faster solution” than foreclosure, says JPMorgan Chase spokesman Thomas Kelly.

The lenders won’t say how often they extend such incentives.

“If you have two similar sellers, one might get it and another may not,” says Colleen Badagliacco of Altera Real Estate in San Jose. “It’s very random.”

Typically, short sale incentives are more common for loans in states where foreclosures take more time, Hines says.

In November, short sales accounted for more than 9% of single family home sales and were up 32% from the year before, according to CoreLogic.

Market researcher Dataquick also shows short sales increasing from January 2011 through last month throughout California and in Phoenix, Miami and Seattle.

The federal government-run foreclosure prevention program also offers short sale incentives, at least $3,000 for sellers, but far more short sales are being done outside the government program.

“The trend is up,” says Moody’s Investors Service analyst William Fricke.

AZ Central – Scottsdale based developer DMB works on BIG projects

by Catherine Reagor – Feb. 18, 2012 04:44 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com

Scottsdale-based DMB Associates is spending a lot of time focusing on properties in a state next door to Arizona: California.

The developer has several master-planned projects in various stages across the state: in the Lake Tahoe area, the San Francisco Bay Area, central California and in Southern California’s Orange County.

In a state known for its regulations and attention to the environment, DMB is proving it can modify plans to work with neighbors, community groups and environmental interests to develop prime sites.

In January, DMB opened a Pacific division headquartered in San Francisco to be closer to its California projects, particularly the redevelopment of Cargill’s historic salt plant in Redwood City, near Silicon Valley. Eneas Kane is president of the new operation.

Although DMB is developing 150,000 acres of communities in the West and building communities on some of the highest-profile pieces of land in California, including the redevelopment of the Saltworks site in the Bay Area, it has maintained its low-key style.

“It feels like though the housing market hasn’t recovered yet, it has hit an inflection point,” Kane said. “We believe our greatest opportunities are in California right now.”

California’s housing market is much larger and more diverse. And some parts of the state, including the Bay Area and the Lake Tahoe area, haven’t suffered as much during this housing crash.

Evolving focus

“DMB” stands for the first names of its prominent Arizona founders. The D is for the company’s chairman and real-estate attorney, Drew Brown. The M is for Mark Sklar, whose family owned Mundus Travel. The B is for Campbell Soup heir Bennett Dorrance.

In 2010, the developer attracted some prominent investors, including Madrone Capital Partners, which includes Walmart heirs, and Argonaut Private Equity of Oklahoma.

Best known for its DC Ranch community in north Scottsdale, DMB formed after metro Phoenix’s last real-estate crash in the late 1980s investing in bargain commercial properties. But after DC Ranch, DMB’s business plan evolved to partnering with landowners and investors on large residential projects that can be built slowly and with plans constantly updated for changes in the economy and in homebuyers’ preferences.

The partnerships, such as the one it has with Caterpillar on Buckeye’s Verrado, allow for private agreements that don’t require fast shareholder profits and but do allow for a long-term planning and development.

“We build for people,” Brown said. “We are trying to create neighborhoods that will last and evolve.”

The developer has garnered a reputation as a meticulous planner, an amiable neighbor to other projects and a company that won’t sacrifice quality growth for short-term projects, said national housing analyst Tim Sullivan.

In Arizona, DMB continues to develop or plan the communities DC Ranch and Silverleaf and mixed-used project One Scottsdale in the north Valley, Verrado in Buckeye, Marley Park in Surprise and its latest project, Eastmark in Mesa, while considering another residential project on state-owned land in the northwest Valley.

Outside Arizona, it is partnering with other companies on high-profile projects that could be under development for the next few decades.

In 2006, the developer saw the housing crash coming but no one knew how bad it would be for the home-building market.

In 2009, DMB had to restructure and downsize its staff by at least one-third. Then, the developer’s chairman said the company had no plans to sell off any of its current assets and would continue looking for special land for developments in the West.

“We are finally bringing some money in this year instead of just spending,” Brown said. “Of course, we are in development to make money, but what’s as important is the footprint we leave on this country with our projects. If our projects thrive and evolve for decades, we know we will have succeeded.”

DMB’s projects outside Arizona include:

Redwood City Saltworks

On 1,436 acres between San Francisco and San Jose, DMB is working with Cargill to redevelop an industrial salt mine into a community that would provide workforce-priced housing. The two groups started a partnership in 2006. Cargill, an international agriculture and food company, owns the former salt-mining site.

The Redworks site is prime for redevelopment because there’s little other developable land left in the infill community along the waterfront.

Exact plans for the development are still being worked out, but the current goal is to set aside half of the land for conservation and public access to the bay, 200 acres of parks and privately funded restoration of industrial land into tidal marshes.

Originally, 12,000 homes and apartment had been planned on the historic site. But after many meetings with neighbors of the land and community and conservation groups, the plan is being scaled back.

DMB’s research found that 40,000 people commute to Redwood City for work so it’s trying to develop high-density, affordable housing on the site while still conserving much of the land.

Martis Camp

Halfway between Truckee, Calif., and the northern shore of Lake Tahoe, DMB is building a community on 2,177 acres. One side of the project overlooks the lake, while the other side faces the Sierra Nevada. This community has a golf course and a ski lodge. The clubhouse is a large red barn called the Family Barn.

Kane said many of the buyers so far are from San Francisco, particularly Silicon Valley. A few executives from Apple have been spotted at Martis Camp.

About half of the 653 lots at Martis Camp have sold for a total of $280 million. In 2011, 43 home sites sold for a total of $33 million, making it one of fastest-selling resort communities in the country, according to housing analysts.

The DMB Martis partnership managed negotiations that led to an agreement with Sierra Watch, the League To Save Lake Tahoe, the Mountain Area Preservation Foundation, Sierra Club, and the Planning & Conservation League in 2008, which let the project be built.

Tejon Mountain Village

In the middle of central California’s 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch, the largest privately owned piece of land in California, DMB is developing 8,000 acres of a 28,000-acre site.

Plans call for about 80 percent of the site to be left undeveloped. The deal, worked out with the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council and Audubon California, also means 240,000 acres of 90 percent of the Tejon Ranch property will be preserved.

Ladera Ranch

Through a partnership the the Moiso and O’Neill families, DMB is developing 4,000 acres in central Orange County. About 8,000 homes have been developed in the project so far, and only 8,100 are planned for it.

Ladera Ranch is similar to DMB’s Verrado community in Buckeye, with a variety of midpriced to high-end homes surrounding a town center.

When DMB partners with landowners, the developer usually pays for the communities infrastructure and then works out a deal to split profits from land sales. DMB is private and very private about its finances. Most of its partners are also private firms.

Kukui`ula

Located on the southern shore of the Hawaiian island Kauai, the 1,045-acre high-end resort is a project DMB is developing with Hawaiian firm Alexander & Baldwin.

DMB signed onto the project in the midst of the housing crash, but Kane said the site and opportunity were too good to let go by. So DMB has spent the past few years developing the resort while selling very few of its expensive home lots.

The development has a golf course, spa and collection of swimming pools. It also has a 50-acre farm for residents to pick their own fruits and vegetables. About 1,500 high-end homes, most priced above $1 million, are planned for the community. So far, about 100 houses and lots have sold there.

Planning for the development started in 2001, long before the housing crash, but the project’s development has been slower than expected, Brown said.


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