June's Housing Industry Moves

Steve Wall’s acquisition of Technical Olympic USA’s Newmark Homes division in Dallas, along with John Laing Homes’ sharing a senior executive with its Dubai-based parent Emaar’s operation in India, highlight the movement of people and money in the housing industry this month.
By by Bill Lurz, Senior Editor | May 31, 2007

Texas giant Steve Wall is at it again. Steve launched his Arlington, Texas-based Wall Homes in 2005, intending to carve a niche in move-up markets of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, Austin and San Antonio all at once. Now Wall has acquired Hollywood, Fla.-based public giant Technical Olympic USA's Newmark Homes division in Dallas/Fort Worth, an operation that started more than 600 homes in 2006. Technical Olympic CEO Antonio Mon told dallasnews.com Real Estate Editor Steve Brown that Technical Olympic will have a net gain of $55.7 million from the transaction. Wall will get all of Newmark's land: 2,100 lots and 180 houses under construction. The deal gets Wall into some Texas markets he was having trouble penetrating, including suburban Frisco, Keller, Plano and Prosper. Newmark's product sold between $120,000 and $400,000. The deal was made at a substantial discount, Wall said.

Scott Comeaux has been named senior vice president of builder development for American Home Mortgage 's western division, based in Houston. Comeaux had been vice president of builder sales for Home 123 and its predecessors RBC and Sterling Capital Management in Houston.

Kenneth T. Seeger has joined MeadWestvaco Corp. as senior vice president and president of MeadWestvaco's community development and land management group. The new business unit will segment and manage high-value U.S. land holdings. Prior to joining MeadWestvaco, he was president of Presidio Group, a San Francisco-based real-estate asset management, entitlement and development company.

Irvine, Calif.-based public home builder Standard Pacific Corp. 's chairman, Stephen Scarborough, has promoted three key executives: Scott D. Stowell has been named to the newly-created position of chief operating officer; Todd J. Palmaer will succeed Stowell as Southern California regional president; and Ted McKibbin has been named division president for Orange County, Calif. Stowell, who has been with Standard Pacific for 21 years, will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company nationwide. In other Standard Pacific news, Craig K. Campbell has been appointed as the new president of its Tucson, Ariz., division. Campbell will report to Southwest Regional President Kathy Wade.

Auburn Hills, Mich.-based Champion Enterprises, the largest nationwide builder of modular homes, has announced a five-year commitment to support design studios affiliated with the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture's Center for Building Communities (CBC). The CBC is a new initiative to address architectural and urban design needs around the country.

Public home builder Meritage Homes Corp., based in Scottsdale, Ariz., has announced the appointment of Leisel Cooper as Rocky Mountain region president. She will report directly to Steven J. Hilton, Meritage's chairman and CEO. Cooper will oversee Meritage, Monterey and Metropolitan divisions in Arizona and Colorado from the company's headquarters in Scottsdale.

Bill Rattazzi, president of the Los Angeles/Ventura division of Newport Beach, Calif.-based John Laing Homes, has been appointed CEO of Emaar MGF Land Private Limited in New Delhi, India. The $4 billion real estate company is in the family of companies headed by Emaar International — as is John Laing Homes. The move is the most high-level sharing of executives to date between John Laing and Emaar. The goal is to export U.S.-style home building expertise to the growing market in India.


Los Angeles-based public giant KB Home has decided to sell its French home building subsidiary to a private equity firm for more than $800 million. The deal will provide a cash transfusion to the beleaguered firm and allow KB to shed another vestige of the regime of former CEO Bruce Karatz. The French unit is profitable and outperforming its parent. "The decision to sell our position in France was a strategic one," KB Home CEO Jeffrey Metzger told a newspaper reporter. KB has a 49 percent stake and majority voting rights in the French subsidiary.


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