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Dick Turpin

Lining Up for Houses

May 18, 1986|Dick Turpin

In a See's Candy store, taking a number to be served is a fair and long-established matter of course.

But true to its legendary real estate cycles, only in Southern California will you find eager home buyers lined up outside sales offices on a Sunday, waiting for a chance to buy a home--before breakfast.

That's what happened this morning at 7 a.m. and yesterday at 8 a.m. at Rancho Santa Margarita, an evolving, V-shaped, 5,000-acre master-planned community in southeast Orange County, destined to be home for 50,000 more Californians by the turn of the century.

Since last November, 12,000 would-be buyers have signed an interest list, making themselves eligible for this weekend's two series of drawings to establish priority lists from which about 435 of 1,900 initial-phase homes planned in 12 neighborhoods will be sold by 10 home building firms.

Saturday's allotment ranged upward to 160 units, in five drawings held throughout the day at the respective sales and model complexes of the firms, and units made available today range from 200 to 275, with the fifth and final drawing set for 4 p.m. Jan Wilson, director of marketing, suggests there's no point in attending if you haven't got a "ticket."

"Non-winners" will be placed on standby lists for builder releases of future houses, expected to follow in accelerated order because of the demand. Since a May 3 deadline for placement of names on this weekend's first drawings, about 2,000 new names have already been placed on a new buyer-interest list for chances to buy that dream house from among subsequent phases of construction.

These participants in a lottery--just as 9,000 families did almost a decade ago at the Irvine Co.'s landmark Woodbridge community--hope to enter the housing market at a time when interest rates and inflation are stable and comparatively low, and when the real estate industry and lending institutions are experiencing one of the industry's periodic upturns of activity.

There's an unusual feature in these drawings too--2,500 persons were issued two cards each, creating 5,000 chances in the weekend lottery.

That gives each household two chances for selection. In the event that one household's name is called twice, only one selection may be made. Families may buy only one home and must occupy it. They can't rent it, under terms of the arrangement.

The mix and prices of homes at Rancho Santa Margarita, situated between the communities of Mission Viejo and Coto de Caza, range from $56,000 to $175,000. The one apartment complex of 500 units will have rentals starting from $540 a month. Sign-up of tenants for Villa La Paz, a Western National Properties project, is under way.

(For both apartments and homes for sale, Rancho Santa Margarita will participate in Orange County's housing opportunities program that uses income guidelines to determine considerations for rentals and sales.)

Builders whose homes will create the neighborhoods of five single-family detached and six single-family attached projects are Akins Development Co., Baywood Homes, Century American Corp., Fieldstone Co., John Laing Homes, Macco Pacific Corp., Standard-Pacific Corp., William Lyon Co. and Wittenberg-Livingston Inc. Fieldstone and Lyon each have two neighborhoods to build.

Along with all the building activity throughout the 350-acre initial phase of home construction, grading for a 65-acre first phase of a planned, 400-acre business park is under way at the intersection of Santa Margarita Parkway and Avenida Empressa.

"Clean industries" are the prime prospects for the park, according to the Los Angeles-based development firm of Ratkovich, Bowers & Perez Inc., and three prominent technology-oriented companies have make commitments for more than 40 acres within this initial phase, representing about $35 million in realty transactions.

Hughes Aircraft Co.'s Microelectronics Systems Division plans a 300,000-square-foot, multistory facility on a 25-acre site where it will employ more than 1,000, consolidating operations now housed in seven buildings in Irvine. Construction is to start this fall for a late-1987 completion date.

Burroughs Corp. plans construction of a 115,000-square-foot building on 11 acres. Work is to begin in June for completion in January, 1987, when 650 employees will be relocated from a Mission Viejo site.

Control Components Inc. plans to erect a 75,000-square-foot office/assembly building on 4.5 acres for mid-1987 occupancy and relocation from Irvine.

A key to the promise of success for the housing and business phases at Rancho Santa Margarita is a labor pool estimated at 130,000, living in the southernmost portions of Orange County. That figure is cited by both Donald E. Moe, vice president for marketing, and A. Martin Stradtman, director of commercial and industrial sales.

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