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Land near Jamul acquired for master-planned community

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Approximately 1,100 acres in east San Diego County near the community of Jamul have been sold for $37.12 million, and will be developed into a master-planned community of up to 1,200 homes.

The property was acquired by GDCI Proctor Valley L.P., a unit of Carmel Valley-based GDC Communities, itself an affiliate of Genstar Development Co.

The seller was a series of partnerships controlled by RMJB Inc., headed by Ronald Therrian, of Tustin.

Dave Waters, GDC Communities director of business development, said what is now raw land on and around Proctor Valley Road could have held as many as 2,000 units under the existing Otay Ranch village plan and basic zoning.

GDC instead intends to develop between 800 and 1,200 units.

The Otay Ranch general plan sits on approximately 19,000 acres, which includes GDC's acquisition, was approved in 1993 for approximately 28,000 residential units upon completion.

GDC is teamed with Bonita-based Jackson Pendo Partners, which will actually develop the homes.

Waters said that despite most of the Otay Ranch property being within the Chula Vista city limits, there are no plans to annex the 1,100 acres to the city.

Waters added that he doesn't anticipate any more difficulty dealing with the San Diego County Board of Supervisors than he would have if the property were within the city of Chula Vista.

"Now it is time to begin processing our specific entitlements," Waters said, adding that this will include tentative and final maps, a process he said should take about two years.

"We have an approved master EIR for the project," Waters said, adding that he hopes to see the first homes up in five to six years.

Liz Jackson, Jackson Pendo president, said while the master environmental impact report has been completed for the property, a "tiered EIR" will be needed before the project can move forward.

"All of the villages [in Otay Ranch] have gone through this same process," Jackson explained.

Jackson Pendo has worked on a wide range of residential developments in San Diego County.

It has ongoing projects in Escondido, San Marcos, National City, La Mesa and on Mt. Helix.

Jackson is a former Pacific Bay Homes executive who headed up the effort on the now completed 2,000-home Rolling Hills Ranch development in Chula Vista.

While most of GDC's recent developments have been outside of San Diego County, it was involved in the 237-unit Rancho Santalina development in San Marcos within the past year.

GDC purchased the remaining 150 lots in that subdivision through a short sale and subsequently sold 120 of those lots to homebuilder KB Home. (NYSE: KBH).

The other active project that GDC is handling in this county is a planned 11-lot infill development, located at the junction of Carmel Creek and Del Mar Trails roads in the Carmel Valley area.

Earlier in this decade, GDC acquired 660 lots in the master- planned Esperanza development in Ontario, Calif. The company anticipates the first homes will be delivered in 2015.

GDC Communities is a private, internally-financed real estate company with operations in Southern California, Atlanta and throughout Canada, and focuses on residential land investments and equity financing.

In addition to its U.S. operations, through Genstar, GDC directs the acquisition and development of Canadian master-planned communities in the British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba and Ontario provinces.

With a growing portfolio of real estate holdings, GDC is searching for new opportunities to acquire land, form joint ventures, provide equity financing or enter into fee-build arrangements with private homebuilders such as Jackson Pendo.

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