Perot Family Invests in San Jose Housing

Graycor Construction Company, San Francisco, Bay Area, Pipeline Project Activity, San Jose,

By Jon Peterson

A division of a Dallas-based development company controlled by the Ross Perot family has invested in a partnership that plans to develop 261 homes and condominiums on 13 acres in northeast San Jose.

The site is across the street from the San Jose municipal golf course and is located in the Berryessa neighborhood. The 16-acre development includes a one-acre park and two acres of greenbelt.

It is Hillwood West’s first San Jose investment and is part of the remake of a nearly 5,000-acre low-density North San Jose industrial district that includes the headquarters campus of Cisco Systems Inc., one of the city’s most important employers and taxpayers. The city seeks to bring high-density housing, millions of square feet of new workspace, hotels and retail to North San Jose, its most important business cluster.

“Hillwood is confident the California real estate market will continue to grow, and we are investing now in quality developments that benefit residents and entire communities,” Ross Perot Jr., chairman of Hillwood, said in a prepared statement.

Hillwood’s partner in the project is The New Home Co., an Aliso Viejo, Calif., housing developer founded three years ago by H. Lawrence Webb, Wayne Stelmar, Tom Redwitz and Joseph D. Davis. Webb is a partner and chief executive officer of The New Home Co.; Stelmar is a partner and chief financial officer. Redwitz is a partner and Southern California president.

Webb, Stelmar and Redwitz were all high-ranking executives at the former John Laing Homes. Davis is a former president of Irvine Community Development Co.

The New Home Co. will oversee construction, operation, sales and marketing for the San Jose housing development. The site is at Old Oakland and East Brokaw roads, about two miles east of the Mineta San Jose International Airport. The companies plan to break ground in late 2012 and to deliver the first housing in mid-2013. “The New Home Co. is a respected partner, and we look forward to working together on future developments in California,” Perot said.

The city has adopted extensive planning and policy documents to promote the renaissance of North San Jose. It is seeking 32,000 new housing units, 27 million square feet of office and research and development space, new hotel rooms, and new neighborhood and regional retail. The city hopes to have buildings as high as 10 stories in a 600-acre core along the North First Street light-rail corridor to beef up transit ridership and promote a more urban existence. Other housing developers active in North San Jose include The Irvine Co., which is working on the Crescent Park project with 1,750 units, and the mammoth North Park Apartment Village, which it completed a number of years ago.

“We think that this location is an excellent one. It’s an infill site near highways 680 and 880, has retail close by and has good schools in the region,” Kevin Carson, president of the Northern California division of The New Home Co., told The Registry. “It’s also in the South Bay where much of the new job creation is happening. All these factors are important to us.”

The developers claim that the new community will have “a financial impact” of more than $150 million on the region, creating hundreds of construction jobs, according to the prepared statement.

The New Home Co. is planning new communities in Foster City, Larkspur and Folsom. Hillwood is working with the New Home Co. to pursue additional land transactions in Northern and Southern California.

Hillwood Communities has developed more than 22,000 lots and built 70 communities in the United States and Costa Rica, according to the company. It has completed 30 real estate projects in California.

The partners bought the land from San Jose’s Fox family for an undisclosed price. Linda Fox Mighdoll, founder of LFM Properties based in Campbell, represented the sellers. The Fox family owned the site for more than five decades. It was most recently a home for a metal-recycling business, which has been demolished and cleaned up.

The family worked with San Francisco-based DMB Pacific Ventures LLC to negotiate the residential land entitlements for the project with the city. DMB is a real estate and land-use investment company that is funded by equity investors Madrone Capital Partners and Argonaut Private Equity. DMB’s other California projects include Redwood City’s Saltworks and the Tejon Mountain Village, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles.

The San Jose project will have a mixture of single-family attached homes and condominiums. The actual breakdown of these units hasn’t been determined. The New Home Co. does expect a wide variety of buyers. “We will get some of the high-tech workers in the region who are either single, couples or young families,” Carson said. “We are also going to be offering condos with single-story units that will have elevators to attract some of the aging population in the region that is looking to downsize out of a single-family home.” His company has not yet established pricing.

Hillwood West invests in real estate opportunities with developers, builders, lenders and landowners in the western region.

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