Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Vacant Building Gets a New Tenant

Just last month Macy’s announced it will open a store in Palmdale, CA, beginning in the fall of 2010. The single story location is 110,000-square-feet. Now Macy’s will be located in the Antelope Valley Mall at the former Gottschalk’s location, and this will be Macy’s first presence in the Antelope Valley.
Macy’s press release indicated it will offer a full range of apparel and accessories for women, men and children, as well as housewares, home textiles and luggage, and the store will employ approximately 130 associates.
The previous department store chain Gottschalks Inc had stores in California, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada and Idaho, but put itself up for sale and then filed to reorganize in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January of 2009. The location has been vacant for over a year now, and caused a blight in the mall.
The other anchor stores are JC Penny’s, Sears, and Dillard’s with smaller national chains like Pier 1 Imports, Men’s Wearhouse, and 24-Hour Fitness.
The Mall opened in 1990 and it actually sits above a wash of snow runoff from the neighboring San Gabriel Mountains. Land in this area sold for under a thousand an acre because of the wash, while unencumbered land sold for much much more. The city devised a wash channel via pipelines which now runs beneath today’s Mall. Prior land speculators saw the opportunity back in the 70’s and 80’s as Macy’s has found a new location for their expansion.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

160+ acres at 50th Street West & Avenue H, The Development That Didn't

This large swath of land in Los Angeles County has had a proposed amendment to the General Plan land use from rural residential agricultural land (one dwelling per 2.5 acres) to a proposal for R-7000 urban residential (one dwelling unit per a minimum net area of 7,000 square feet). It would entail a subdivision for 655 single family residential lots in the R-7,000 Zone. The Planning Commission undertook a resolution to adopt the recommendation to deny the General Plan Amendment of zone change. The Planning Commission sent a letter in January requesting a response to the property owner’s engineering department regarding their project. If there was no response then the commission would recommend denial of the project, which had originally begun in October 2004. As there wasn’t an environmental review of the project, hence the property owner’s inaction was the indication that they were giving up their plans. To date no environmental progress has been made, and it cannot move forward without the Environmental Impact Report (EIR). As the project requires the application payment and a redesign of the plans, thus the inaction by the property owner forced the planning commission to deny the zone change.

Many investors may have purchased land in this area in anticipation of the zone change and potential housing track of hundreds of homes. The real estate foreclose rate in Lancaster and Palmdale has been significant, and most of those foreclosed homes have been repurchased by investors for a fraction of their prior value. The outlook for new housing in the valley has curtailed plans by this developer and others as there has been a few mapper’s who have dissolved their plans to develop a number of parcels on the east and west side of Lancaster and Palmdale. A loss for some can be an opportunity for another.

As land prices have dropped then low priced pre-developed land opportunities become available. The most recent low prices in land came after the Internet bubble in 2000 to 2004. Prices increased dramatically after that to the highs of 2006 and 2007. Buying at the end of the recession and selling at the top of the next wave has proved to be prudent for a number of investors. Unfortunately, many investors buy at market highs and sell in desperation when the market is at its lows. This current time frame is a much better period to look into pre-developed land investment. Pre-developed land has the greatest increase in potential value, since undeveloped land is much lower in price. Once development occurs in the area then Commercial and Housing companies need the land based on its proximity to other development. These developers have the funds to buy at $100,000 or more per acre for the right type of property. Today an investor can pay less then half that price. If you are looking for an opportunity for your IRA, or 401k then contact us and we can locate prime opportunity low priced land options.