Levitt and Sons' active-adult community on Lake Lanier north of Atlanta is set to be sold early this month. Kolter Group, currently the only known bidder, is looking to aquire the community for $12.4 million. It could, however, be sold to an as-yet unknown higher bidder.
Other bidders have until January 8 to submit bids that must be at least $12.9 million to better the Kolter offer. If other bidders do come forward, an auction will be scheduled for January 12 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., where Levitt filed for bankruptcy in Nov. of 2007. The company has been liquidating its assets since. If another bidder other than Kolter buys the land, Kolter will be paid a "breakup fee" of $320,000, according to court documents.
Jim Harvey, president of Kolter Land Partners, said the Lake Lanier property was in the early stages of development when Levitt filed for bankruptcy. The purchase would include 16 fully furnished model homes, 43 homes complete or partially built, 169 developed lots, 147 partially developed lots and 290 approved-but-raw lots. There are also 22 boat slips on Lake Lanier, but there is no clubhouse or other amenity built at this point.
Harvey envisions keeping the land as an active-adult community if Kolter, a real estate development company that specializes in providing builders with finished lots, buys it. Until Pulte moved to town a few years ago, Atlanta had no large, master-planned, active-adult communities and, even now, it is difficult to assemble large-enough parcels in the area to create the scale needed to build a fully amenitized community, he said.
Kolter has been an unsuccessful stalking-horse bidder on some other recent Levitt property auctions, including a Levitt Cascades community in Sarasota, Fla. which was bought by Medallion Homes, a local builder, and lots within World Golf Village, south of Jacksonville, Florida, which went to York Capital, a private equity investor, which also bought a Levitt property in Myrtle Beach earlier.
In September, Avatar bought a section of a former Levitt Traditions development in St. Lucie County, Fla. It spent $7.3 million for 87 completed and partially completed homes, 267 developed lots, 364 partially developed lots, and roughly 400 undeveloped master-planned lots.
Another Levitt project called Southern Hills in Hernando County, Fla, two counties north of Tampa, was recently purchased by a group of Tampa investors as well, Harvey said.
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