Irvine among ‘most desirable’ U.S. markets | Irvine Real Estate | Irvine Homes and Condos for Sale

by Robert Mack on January 21, 2011

in Buyers, Latest News, Sellers

Lennar Corp. executives called Irvine “one of the most desirable (housing) markets in the country,” saying they’re excited to finally be moving forward with housing around the Orange County Great Park.

The firm, one of the nation’s largest homebuilders, bought the former El Toro Marine base at the top of the market in 2005, only to see the project stalled by the housing slump and its value shrink.

But the project got a new lease on life with the recent approval of restructured financing and the filing of plans for nearly 5,000 new homes around the former base.

“We’re very excited about El Toro,” said Jon Jaffe, Lennar’s chief operating officer. He added:

“It’s a great land position in one of the most desirable markets in the country. And with this debt restructuring and partnership restructuring, we really stabilize the capitalization of the project for the next seven plus years, which will give us the ability to monetize the assets. So, as we said today we’re really exited about that. Just submitted the next level of maps to the city for entitlement … and now we’re moving forward.”

Added Stuart Miller, Lennar’s president and CEO:

These restructurings have come with some pain. Jon added five years to his age and the restructuring take a tremendous amount of time and energy. … Over the past five years, we have taken a lot of pain on some of these ventures. As we come out of 2010, we are getting better and better positioned to reap some benefits from some of those deals as we go forward.”

Meanwhile, Irvine officials issued a report Thursday saying that city and Great Park staff are studying Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to eliminate a key funding source earmarked for park development over the next 40 years.

Brown proposed in his new budget to dissolve the state’s 425 redevelopment agencies, which have the power to capture property taxes that otherwise would be shared with counties and schools. The city hoped to capture up to $2.2 billion for the Great Park, the report said.

“We are working … to minimize the impact of this proposal on Irvine,” the report said. No specific solutions were mentioned. Among the findings:

  • Brown’s plan would exempt tax revenue earmarked for existing debt. That could include two loans to Irvine’s redevelopment agency already on the books: $134 million raised in a complicated cash transfer among city agencies and $6.6 million lent by the Asset Management plan.
  • But nearly two-thirds of a projected $2.2 billion in property tax revenue for the park “could be at risk under the governor’s proposal.”
  • The $134 million loan repayment could be at risk as well because the state may not recognize it as existing debt.
  • The city can’t take advantage of Brown’s proposal that cities ask voters to approve taxes for redevelopment because of a long-standing promise not to finance the Great Park with new taxes.

What are you waiting for! If you wait until everyone figures it out, you may just be eating their dust!!!!

Posted on Irvine Orange County Real Estate Market News

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