|It might be one of the last of the really big land deals in Orange County (experience it, people, you will tell tales of this deal to your grandchildren): national homebuilder Toll Brothers acquired a half interest recently in the master-planned Baker Ranch in Lake Forest from Shea Baker Ranch, some 387 acres for an undisclosed price.
|Toll VP-Southern California Seth Ring tells us it will soon develop about 2,200 units worth of single and multifamily homes on the property. The homebuilder anticipates beginning grading this fall, with models opening in spring 2014. There isn't going to be any mixed-use component, Seth adds; the development will feature an apartment complex with over 400 garden-style units and a small commercial park of roughly three acres. "We see a surge of pent-up demand for residential properties around the corner," he says. "It's the best housing market in five or six years."
|Can you see your house from here? The land is the last sizable undeveloped part of the 5,000-plus acres acquired by the Baker and West families more than 50 years ago. Few large land deals are even possible in Orange County any more, since a handful of entities control over 80% of the county's remaining entitled land inventory. For Toll, the meaty slice of Baker Ranch represented an opportunity to gain a long-term foothold in one of the best-performing residential markets in the country. Future competitive projects of similar scale to Baker Ranch are largely controlled by the Irvine Co, The Rancho Mission Viejo Co, and Five Points Communities.
|Province West repped the seller. Its founding principals, Rett Coluccio, Marc Kleiman, and Daniel McDonough tell Bisnow that while homebuilders such as KB Home, DR Horton, Standard Pacific, and Taylor Morrison have recently closed transactions in the market, moving forward there will be limited opportunity for homebuilders to acquire entitled projects outside of existing master-planned communities.