A Southern California homebuilder plans to breathe new life into five Pinal County subdivisions, which were abandoned months ago by a bankrupt Phoenix developer.
Frontier Homes agreed to purchase the housing developments in Casa Grande and Maricopa — totaling 430 home sites — for $29 million during a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction last week.
It’s the company’s fi rst venture outside of California, said Mike Dwight, Frontier’s senior vice president. It’s diffi cult to find Southern California land in a price range that makes building entry-level houses economically viable, he said.
“To grow the company, we almost have to expand geographically,” he said.
Arizona’s growth is phenomenal, and “an opportunity rose to hit the ground running,” Dwight said.
Some 132 homes are in various stages of construction at the sites — left unfi nished by bankrupt Turner-Dunn.
Frontier hopes to close the deal by February after inspecting the properties and gauging where the projects are in the permitting process.
The company will work with buyers who already have contracts. They might actually benefit from renegotiating because the market has slowed, Dwight said.
Homes will likely range in size from 1,300 square feet to more than 3,000 square feet and start at about $170,000, he said. Frontier plans to have them completed by mid-2008.
Half finished homes and auction signs can hurt the value of homes in the entire area, which has several other new projects by other homebuilders, said John Russell, a Casa Grande real estate agent.
People wonder if they want to move into an area like that, he said.And then there are the people who already bought homes in the largely-vacant subdivisions.
“You just feel awful for them,” Russell said. “They have no neighbors, and there are homes in various stages all around them.”
The uncompleted developments have likely had little impact on the city as a whole because there’s so much building happening all over, real estate agent Connie Rush said.
Any builder who buys up the property will have some stiff competition, Rush said.
“I think if someone goes in and does it right, I think they can turn that around,” she said. “I don’t think it’s a lost cause.”