Jurney president Wade G. Jurney said he has all C.P. Morgan's North and South Carolina land under contract, including 351 lots in the Charlotte area and about 52 in the Greensboro, Winston-Salem, High Point, Triad area. He hopes to close in early July.
"I hate that we're going through the times that we are, but you can take advantage of the situation," Jurney said. The C.P. Morgan land is an ideal fit for Jurney because both companies focus on reaching first-time buyers with more-house-for-your-buck sales campaigns.
Jurney, 38, spoke highly of C.P. Morgan's operations and land positions, saying that, while its Charlotte-area business was profitable, that couldn't make up for the permanent decline in the Indianapolis market. He has hired on a contract basis several of C.P. Morgan's Charlotte executives to help with the expansion.
He wouldn't say how much he will be paying for the lots, only that it will be considerably less than C.P. Morgan bought them for close to the peak of the market.
Money for the acquisition won't come completely from Jurney's pockets. He said he's putting in place private equity capital for the purchase. He says he's been negotiating with six or eight groups of potential investors. He'll have partial ownership in the group that buys the land, but it won't put his home building company on the line.
"I don't want to go in the land banking business," he says. "I want to focus on home building. This way we can take the lots as we need them. It's turnkey and a very good way to get our foot in the door in Charlotte."
"The minute we close those lots we're going to be building on them the next day," Jurney said. He's hoping to close 30 or 40 homes in that market by the end of the year, boosting his total sales to about 300 by year's end.
Jurney Homes is a rare builder that actually grew in 2008, closing 215 sales in the Triad area, up more than 5% from 204 in 2007. Revenue, too, was up from $28 million to $29 million, boosting the company within striking range of the Builder 100 list to No. 110 from 178 in 2007.