August 04, 2011
With Coast-to-Coast Land Purchases, SunCal is Rising
By Teresa Burney
SunCal, a leading California land developer, has expanded to the East Coast, by buying Harbor Station, a stalled master planned community on the Potomac River in Washington, D.C.’s Virginia suburbs.
“We now have expanded our geographic outreach and are involved in projects from the Pacific Ocean to and the Atlantic Ocean,” said Frank Faye, SunCal’s chief operating officer. And the company is looking for more opportunities along the Eastern Seaboard and in the South, he added.
Harbor Station is a nearly turn-key development and one of the last big parcels in the I-95 corridor. It has entitlements for up to 4,000 homes, 3.7 million square feet of commercial space, including room for a marina and hotel, and a Jack Nicklaus Signature golf course which is complete and ready for play. Some roads and significant lot grading are also complete. SunCal plans to add a train station for connection to D.C., 35 miles north.
“A lot of the hard work has been done, not to say there isn’t more to do,” said Frank Cappello, a SunCal principal who is in the company’s recently established New York office.
So much infrastructure is in place that Cappello said SunCal should be able to deliver the 880 lots in the development’s first phase quickly. Already builders are lining up, he said, making offers on the entire first phase. “We have a lot of interest, formal and informal offers from household name builders,” he said.
Plans call for starter and move-up homes as the backbone of the community. “That said, there is going to be the opportunity for fantastic Potomac River views,” Cappello said.
The sale price of the development has not been released. There were a number of bidders on the land, which was being held in receivership. The land was being developed by Kettler, which had previously invested $200 million in the project, the Washington Business Journal reported.
SunCal has been busily buying distressed properties across the country. It purchased former Kimball Hill Home lots in Las Vegas with D.E. Shaw, which it sold profitably shortly after. It also has bought a community called Stonebridge in Chicago.
Faye says to look for more buys in the future. “We are also involved in pursuing many other properties from coast-to-coast,” he said.
Financing should not be a problem. “We continue to be honored that many of the financial institutions are seeking us out to do both repeat and new business,” Faye said.
Teresa Burney is a senior editor for Builder magazine.