Ameriquest's Predatory Practices Ameriquest Mortgage Co. must shell out $325 million to various state attorneys general to settle claims focused on predatory home mortgage lending. States will distribute the money as restitution to slighted homeowners. Although the settlement leaves various private actions unresolved, affected homeowners have the option to accept the settlement cash and drop their claims or refuse the money and pursue a private legal action. Ameriquest's builder partners have included K. Hovnanian, MBK, Shea Homes, and Taylor Woodrow.
Protection Against Mold Risk Earlier this month, GreenGuard Environmental Institute launched its new mold risk reduction program at the Mortgage Bankers Association's Commercial Real Estate Finance/Multifamily Housing Convention & Expo. The mold assurance program certifies the design, construction, and operations of new structures, giving lenders and developers a way to mitigate mold risk. Executive director Carl Smith says that the program will encourage lenders to reenter the market because it “provide[s] confidence for the insurance industry and building owner that they won't be hit with a lemon.” At press time, Smith says he had “a handful of letter of intents” from lenders but was unable to announce a formal partnership.
Weyerhaeuser Buys In AZ Looking to procure its share of gold in the high-growth Copper State, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co. plans to acquire Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Maracay Homes. The deal, which closed Feb. 10 under undisclosed terms, is the company's first acquisition in roughly a decade. Deutsche Bank Securities provided financial consultation to Weyerhaeuser.
Company spokesperson Bruce Amundson says that the hot Phoenix housing market and Maracay's management team's philosophy made the deal a natural fit. “All of our real estate companies focus on value propositions. Each real estate company builds and markets homes to a specific type of customer within a market area,” he explains. “Maracay, with its Flex Design—they had the same approach to a market.”
New Infill Data In response to a trend toward urban infill and mixed-use developments, construction management consulting firm FMI recently launched a survey to determine the status of these markets for selected metro areas nationwide. Initial results are expected in 2Q06, with follow-up reports due out every six months thereafter. Go to www.bigbuilderonline.com for more information.
Colonnade Customizes Charleston Colonnade Custom Homes, a subsidiary of John Wieland Homes & Neighborhoods, opened its first community in Mount Pleasant, S.C., just outside Charleston. Priced from the $700,000s, an estimated 140 custom homes will be located in a gated community inside The Harbor at Dunes West, a 1,540-acre golf course property that John Wieland purchased in April 2005.
Executive Moves Fieldstone Communities has experienced some personnel shifts of late. Former Orange County metro division president Steve Cameron was promoted to COO of California operations. David Greminger moved up from the director of land acquisition for the division to fill the vacated position. Max “JR” Walz was selected as director of operations for the division.
Former land-use attorney Scott Backman was recently hired by Coral Springs, Fla.-based Centerline Homes as the company's new director of land acquisitions and entitlements. The builder also promoted Dawn Ferrari to director of preconstruction.
Learn more about markets featured in this article: Los Angeles, CA.