A partnership between two builder/developers in Southern California is now sorting out how best to restart the construction of the 517-acre Rosedale master planned community in Azusa, Calif. At the same time, competitive builders, developers, and investors have been left to sort out why, just before part of Rosedale was scheduled to be sold to the highest bidder, the auction was canceled.
After a week of calling, BUILDER was unable to contact the principals of Rosedale Land Partners, which on the afternoon of Aug. 31 acquired the entire Rosedale asset, whose plans call for multiple neighborhoods and up to 1,250 homes (of which 125 are already built and occupied), as well as recreational centers (which are required to be built after the first 225 homes are completed, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune), 200 acres of parks and open space, a school, and fire station. This master plan, tucked within the San Gabriel Valley, had been started in 2006, but was ultimately victimized by the recession.
Rosedale Land Partners, which is now responsible for the project's development management, is the creation of Christopher Development Group (CDG), whose owner, Christopher Gibbs, also owns the luxury builder Christopher Homes in Newport Beach, Calif.; and Brookfield Homes Southland Group. Neither Gibbs nor Adrian Foley, Brookfield's president, returned numerous phone calls requesting comment about this deal, which closed escrow three days before US Bank had scheduled an auction of 749 of Rosedale's lots and home sites. One prospective bidder had estimated that the assets would fetch up to $70 million.
Scott Lorenzini, who works for US Bank's special assets group, declined to comment about the cancellation or the sale of the master plan, stating that he was prohibited from talking about the deal by a confidentiality agreement. Neither the bank nor Rosedale Land Partners disclosed the terms of the transaction.
Gibbs' interest in Rosedale is a bit puzzling, given that the lots and homes that were scheduled for auction are entitled for move-up, rather than luxury, housing, according to one local builder that would have been a bidder for these sites. Indeed, in a prepared statement, the partners concede that this project is "a complex development, and not without its share of challenges." They say that over the next few months, the partnership would review the community's plan with the intention of "sorting through the issues that need resolution" to move the project forward.
Neither partner revealed what those issues are.
Prior to Rosedale Land Partners coming onto the scene, smaller pieces of this community had already been sold by lenders who had taken back land from original developer Azusa Land Partners. For example, GMAC reportedly sold 150 lots that it took back to Arges Group, Lee Homes, and City View. Arges plans to build 96 homes here later this year, according to the Tribune. BUILDER was not able to reach officials at Arges or Lee Homes at press time.
John Caulfield is senior editor for BUILDER magazine.