Almost a year after a devastating fire turned 20 Laguna Niguel homes into rubble, efforts are underway to rebuild what was lost, and drive new value for residents.
On May 11, a fast-spreading fire broke out in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park and overtook homes in the Coronado Pointe neighborhood, a 65-home gated community on a bluff with coastal views overlooking Laguna Beach. More than 40 homes were impacted, ranging from smoke and water damage to full destruction.
The property damages neared $100 million, sources tell the Business Journal.
One local development firm is making strides in its efforts to rebuild a portion of the community. Contracts are underway with a handful of residents to develop new, contemporary homes.
Prime Time Coastal Development Inc., a builder that specializes in Laguna Beach and Newport Beach custom homes, is preparing to begin construction on the first of several planned homes on behalf of impacted residents.
“We are first in line to start this process for the community,” Principal Brent Foster told the Business Journal.
The Irvine-based company had previously built several homes within a 1-mile radius of the neighborhood, prompting a recommendation to homeowners.
The Coronado Pointe Homeowners Association also brought in someone from outside of the neighborhood to oversee the project, as the organization’s current president was one of the impacted homeowners. Gary Wiggle from the Strand at Headlands—the 121-acre custom home community in Dana Point that’s about 4 miles south of Coronado Pointe—has been leading efforts, which includes clearing the home sites, securing city permits and working with building partners to approve designs and begin construction.
“We feel so bad for these homeowners, it’s an incredibly emotional and stressful process, and a lot to deal with from working with their insurance companies to deciding whether to move ahead with a rebuild,” Foster said.
Prime Time handled demolition work for eight of the homes, with one site trading hands for $2.5 million after it was cleared.
“Many have considered selling their lot with values where they are today,” Foster said.
“Finding lots along the coast in Orange County is incredibly challenging.”
The lots average 10,000 square feet, according to Foster, and the HOA requires new homes to be at least 3,750 square feet.
Values for the prior homes ranged from about $3 million to a nearly $10 million home that was in escrow prior to burning down, nixing the sale.
That custom estate was built in 1999 and spanned 10,000 square feet.
The homes will cost around $2.5 million to $4.5 million to rebuild, with new values expected to range from $5 million to north of $10 million.
Prime Time has contracts to rebuild three homes and is in discussions on additional projects in the neighborhood. The company is nearing construction on the first of the homes, with an estimated 18-month delivery timeline.
Those homes will range in size from 4,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet.
“Many of the homes were originally built in the 1990s. These new homes are going to be beautiful, with soft contemporary designs,” Foster said.
Many of the displaced residents are expected to move back to the community once their new homes are delivered, but some may build their new homes on a speculative basis as an investment move.