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TRI Pointe Plans Townhomes at Nabisco Site

Irvine-based homebuilder TRI Pointe Group Inc. has taken over ownership of a prominent residential development site in Buena Park that previously held a Nabisco food manufacturing facility.

The homebuilder, which has a market value of about $2.2 billion, recently purchased land on Artesia Boulevard that will hold 149 townhomes, according to multiple real estate sources.

TRI Pointe bought it from an affiliate of fellow Irvine-based builder City Ventures LLC, which got the site entitled for residential use a few years ago.

Financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed. A price approaching $30 million appears likely based on other recent residential land sales in North Orange County.

Neither the buyer nor the seller could be reached for comment.

Land brokers with the Irvine office of Land Advisors Organization acted as transaction consultants, according to real estate sources.

The deal marks another notable milestone in the history of the site just off the Santa Ana (I-5) Freeway and west of the Auto Center area in Buena Park.

The property was once part of a 23-acre site that held a 453,000-square-foot building and excess land used by Nabisco for its food manufacturing facilities.

The building served as a striking visual entry for drivers coming to Orange County from Los Angeles County for some 40 years.

The site has been unused since the Nabisco plant shut down in 2005. The building was demolished and removed between 2007 and 2009.

A few years ago, a 94,000-square-foot office was built on a 7.6-acre portion of the property, which is used by the Carpenters Union as a regional headquarters and a training facility.

City Ventures became involved in developing a 14.5-acre portion of the land about four years ago, taking over the project from an affiliate of Southfield, Mich.-based Seligman & Associates, and got the site entitled for homes and a hotel.

Construction is under way at a four-story, 102-room Hampton Inn & Suites on another portion of the 14.5-acre site that’s being developed by Artesia-based hotel developer A.B. Hospitality Inc.

The hotel is being financed through a $9.2 million construction loan and about $4.5 million in EB-5 funding, according to city documents and trade industry reports.

A timeframe for TRI Pointe moving ahead with home construction at the site hasn’t been announced.

Land for the housing project is graded, and TRI Pointe now has a sign at the entrance to the construction site.

City filings from 2014, when the project was first approved, show plans for the development holding three-story townhomes as large as 2,043 square feet.

Schools, Master Plans

TRI Pointe sold 88 homes in Orange County during the first six months of this year, including a mix of smaller infill projects and parts of larger new master-planned communities, according to its latest quarterly report.

One-time school sites in particular have been big sources of infill business for the builder locally.

In recent years, the company bought a pair of former school sites in Huntington Beach that were redeveloped into homes.

One of the sites, Fairwind, sold out its 80-home project this year, with 17 sales in the first six months. Home prices there ran close to $1 million, according to company regulatory filings.

The builder has a 75-home project in the works at the shuttered Riverdale Elementary school site in Anaheim Hills.

The 12-acre site will have single-family homes as large as 2,829 square feet, according to city filings.

The project, now called Alston, is expected to open next year, with prices around $800,000, according to the builder’s latest quarterly report.

It paid a reported $17.9 million for the Anaheim Hills land in 2014.

TRI Pointe also has homes selling at some of OC’s large master-planned communities: Rancho Mission Viejo and on the Irvine Ranch.

This summer it kicked off sales at Varenna, a 71-home project at Irvine Company’s Orchard Hills development with prices starting around $1.2 million.

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Mark Mueller
Mark Mueller
Mark is the Editor-in-Chief of the Orange County Business Journal, one of the premier regional business newspapers in the country. He’s the fifth person to hold the editor’s position in the paper’s long history. He oversees a staff of about 15 people. The OCBJ is considered a must-read for area business executives. The print edition of the paper is the primary source of local news for most of the Business Journal’s subscribers, which includes most of OC’s major corporate and community players. Mark’s been with the paper since 2005, and long served as the real estate reporter for the paper, breaking hundreds of commercial and residential real estate stories. He took on the editor’s position in 2018.
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