White Knight

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Ben Anderson contacted the landowner and offered assistance in overcoming five hurdles that stood in the way of development on the site.

August 01, 2003

 

Ben Anderson

Photo by Mark Robert Halper

Project: Falcon Point, Fontana, Calif.

Builder-developer: Ben Anderson, BCA Development Inc., Newport Beach, Calif.

Project size: 23 acres

Proposed development: Switch the site from apartment use and build 142 single-family detached homes.

Landowner: A New York City investment fund

Site considerations: As part of the adjoining master plan approved by the city of Fontana, these 23 acres were designated to house 390 apartments. The landowner tried to move forward with that plan, but it was blocked via lawsuits from local opponents.

 

A detached, single-family map for Falcon Point grew out of local discontent with a previous multi-family designation.

Deal story: Anderson heard about the litigation surrounding the 23-acre parcel and the landowner’s desire to build 390 apartments. Anderson contacted the landowner and offered assistance in overcoming five hurdles that stood in the way of development on the site. He offered to:

 

 

 

 

  • secure a land-use change to allow single-family development.

     

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  • use this land-use change to aid the settlement of litigation.

     

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  • secure a specific plan amendment for 142 single-family detached units.

     

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  • restructure the community facilities district used to support schools and infrastructure. This restructuring required a county-run vote of 1,200 neighbors.

     

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  • achieve a yield that would allow the landowners to maintain their revenue targets for the area.

    At first the deal was based on a letter of intent and a level of trust from hitting certain performance expectations.

    Anderson took a risk in working "part of the way down the road" on the project without a lock-tight purchase agreement. But he controlled the land without owning it for nine months before the vote by the 1,200 members of the community facilities district.

    "The trigger here was not the tentative map but a public financing plan that had to be voted on by 1,200 homeowners, and we had to have a 66% approval," Anderson says.

    "In the end we received more than 1,100 votes in favor of our plan."

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