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, and Triad areas. 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 the both companies focus on reaching first-time buyers maximum-house-for-the money sales campaigns.
Jurney, 38, spoke highly of C.P. Morgan’s operations and land positions, saying that while C.P. Morgan's Charlotte-area business was profitable, the builder couldn’t make up for the permanent decline in its home market of Indianapolis. He has hired several of C.P. Morgan’s Charlotte executives on a contract basis to help with Jurney's expansion.
Jurney wouldn’t disclose how much his company will pay for the lots, saying only that it will be considerably less than C.P. Morgan paid for them 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 and has been negotiating with a handful of potential investor groups. He’ll have partial ownership in the group that buys the land, but he says neither the dirt nor the deal will put his home building company on the line.
“I don’t want to go in the land banking business,” Jurney said. “I want to focus on home building. This way we can take the lots as we need them. It’s turn-key and a very good way to get our foot in the door in Charlotte.”
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.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor at BIG BUILDER and BUILDER magazines.