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Residential development in Inland Empire growing

The Inland Empire is humming, with new plans for residential development, while some homebuilders are biding their time.

In May, entities of Eugene-based Spring Capital Group and Pacific Cove Investments of Corona del Mar paid $6.3 million to acquire 45 acres along Horsethief Canyon Road in Corona.

A tentative tract map has been approved for 243 single-family lots, but needs to be amended before work can begin on the project. The seller was Lennar Homes of California.

Erik Lunde, a Pacific Cove Investments principal, explained the development is part of the mostly built-out Horsethief Canyon master plan for about 2,000 homes.

"About 6,000 live in that community," Lunde said."Except for this project, Corona is virtually built out. Temescal Valley is the next stop."

Horsethief was developed by the Presley Cos. firm, and later taken over by William Lyon Homes.

Lunde said developers of the 243 units are completing the initial engineering. "It will be about two years before homes come out of the ground," Lunde said.

Early in the year in January, an Arcadia-based Standard Portfolios Asset Management entity paid $15.1 million to acquire a 705-acre property known as Twelve Oaks in Winchester.

The developer is limited as to what can be built because of topography, but the land will allow for 216 single-family lots.

Located at the junction of Borel and Buck roads in Winchester, just north of Temecula, a key feature of the development is a working winery.

A brochure on Twelve Oaks stated that about 218 acres in the property will be reserved for the winery.

A total of 106 lots will be one-half to a full acre, 60 lots will be one to two acres and 50 lots will be 2 to 4 acres.

"Twelve Oaks represents a rare opportunity to acquire a fully-entitled residential development in the extremely constrained supply market of Temecula. the brochure stated.

The seller was a unit of Presidium Asset Solutions of Minneapolis.

In April, Encore Housing Opportunity Fund paid $14 million to acquire 477.21 acres in Temescal Canyon Road in Corona.

The CoStar Group (Nasdaq: CSGP) reported that about 35 acres are usable for a large-lot, single-family development.

Encore Housing Opportunity Fund is a San Francisco-based real estate investment firm focusing on distressed assets. It invests between $7 million and $20 million in its companies.

With thousands of homes that already exist, Standard Pacific Homes (NYSE: SPF) is a major player in the Inland Empire, but not all its plans are clear.

A year ago, the homebuilder acquired 132 acres on Heritage Lake Drive in Menifee according to CoStar. The sales price wasn't available.

A single-family project is planned and will be part of Standard Pacific's Heritage Lake development that will have about 2,000 residential units; most of these have already been constructed.

The company owns more than a dozen other properties in the Inland Empire, where it is also planning to develop thousands of homes, including a 117.9-acre parcel in the Morgan Hill master plan along Highway 79 in Temecula. That property was acquired in 2010 and is being processed for 351 residential lots.

The homebuilder has also made some recent land acquisitions that it is holding for developemnt.

The company paid $13.33 million for 85 acres of land on Anasazi Drive in Temecula in January 2013, and has banked a 66.88-acre parcel at Menifee and Simpson Roads in Menifee acquired in June 2007.

Standard Pacific is also active in north San Diego County, planning more than 350 homes in the Del Sur portion of Black Mountain Ranch.

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