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Tempe homebuilder going big in West Valley with 3,500 new homes planned

Tempe-based Fulton Homes has closed on several land deals that will bring 3,500 new homes to the West Valley at a time when the existing housing supply is woefully lacking.

The homebuilder just plopped down $14.75 million for 187 acres at the northwest corner of Perryville and Indian School Road in Maricopa County, according to Tempe-based Vizzda LLC real estate database.

Plans call for creating a master-planned community with four product lines totaling 675 lots featuring an aquatic center and sports park, said Norman Nicholls, president of Fulton Homes.

“It’s still probably a year premature to market and advertise it,” Nicholls said. “It will be highly amenitized. We’re getting close to breaking ground for grading.”

That land, which has been used for a dairy farm, is on a county “island” between Goodyear and Buckeye.

Because it’s not annexed into a city, Fulton Homes has worked out a deal with Arizona Water Co. to provide water while Epcor will provide sewer services, Nicholls said.

“Arizona Water is expanding their campus to handle us,” he said.

Complicated deal

Greg Vogel, founder and CEO of Scottsdale-based Land Advisors Organization, who represented the seller in the land transaction, said his team helped the seller find a zoning attorney to rezone the property. Once zoning was in place, Vogel’s team quietly took the property to market.

Vogel — along with Bret Rinehart, Ryan Semro and Wes Campbell — represented the seller in the deal, Eyherabide Dairy Inc.

“There were a lot of complications with the property,” he said, including the lack of water and wastewater services and the cleanup of the land after it had been used as a dairy.

“Fulton Homes seemed to be perfect for it,” Vogel said. “Fulton began a relationship with the family through an escrow, subject to them getting their plats. Even before they closed last week, they had put a tremendous amount of capital forward into the commitment of utilities and also the clean up of the site. It’s unusual to put up millions of dollars for utilities and taking on cleanup.”

Most land deals aren’t that complicated, Vogel said.

“Taking on the cleanup of a property that had been a dairy for 50 years — that comes with its own mystery and challenges.”

While it’s too early to determine home prices, Nicholls said homes most likely will be priced somewhere between $400,000 and $700,000.

“We won’t have anything under $400,000 — there’s just no way,” Nicholls said. “To me, that’s entry level anymore.”

Plans for new home construction come at a time when the market only has 4,388 existing single-family homes available, said Keith Burton, Realtor with The Rider Elite Team in Scottsdale.

“The Valley closed 6,650 single-family homes last month,” Burton said.

Little remaining land

Vogel said there’s very little remaining land in the West Valley, with Luke Air Force Base airspace restrictions covering 16,000 to 17,000 acres where homes can’t be built.

“It’s a very tight market,” Vogel said.

Even so, Fulton Homes managed to buy land at Yuma Road and Estrella Parkway surrounding the Goodyear Ballpark Village.

Plans call for building 796 homes in a gated community featuring four different product lines, Nicholls said.

“We literally surround the ballpark,” he said, adding that he’s about a year away from breaking ground on that community.

“The Ballpark Village is more high density with courtyard homes,” Nicholls said. “It’s a great little type of product surrounding the ball fields.”

Thomas Road lots

He also just closed escrow on 581 lots at 99th Avenue and Thomas Road for a community called Acclaim, which will feature three product lines priced between $400,000 and $700,000.

Fulton Homes is closing out its Estrella Commons at Estrella Road and Interstate 10.

“We finished 429 lots there in less than 24 months,” he said.

Plus, Fulton Homes has another 1,000 homes at 16rd Avenue and Happy Valley Road.

“We already sold 200 homes out of the 1,000 and still have models under construction,” he said. “There’s four product lines out there as well. Fulton Homes is expanding really well in the West Valley.”

Nicholls said it’s getting more difficult to find large parcels of land for Fulton Homes to build its own master-planned communities in the East Valley, where the homebuilder is building Barney Farms in Queen Creek. That 550-acre master-planned community will have more than 1,700 homes an 22 acres of catch-and-release fishing lakes.

“We’re excited to be back in the West Valley in a big way,” he said.

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