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Fieldstone Sells Site for $100 Million : Real estate: Sale of San Diego County property is Southland's biggest land deal this year.


NEWPORT BEACH — In the largest Southern California land deal so far this year, Fieldstone Group of Cos., a Newport Beach home builder, has sold a 2,300-acre property in northern San Diego County for about $100 million, analysts said.

Fieldstone, one of Southern California's largest home builders, defaulted two years ago on a $150-million loan for the project in the community of La Costa.

Fieldstone has been working since 1993 with its lender, Bank of America, to restructure the loan. On Aug. 18, it sold the property to the bank's wholly owned subsidiary Real Estate Management Collateral Co. in a deal valued at about $100 million, sources said.

Last year, the project was valued at about $75 million, according to company documents.

"It's the closing of an unfortunate chapter," Fieldstone Chief Executive Keith A. Johnson said. "The loss of the project is a bittersweet thing. We're glad to have the problem go away, but we're sorry to lose it."

Fieldstone, a privately owned company, purchased the property in a joint venture with a Canadian builder at the height of the real estate market in 1988. When the market later fell, Fieldstone was stuck with large amounts of land it couldn't sell.

Fieldstone had planned to build 3,600 houses on the site, but only a small number have been constructed. A Bank of America spokeswoman said the bank is still evaluating its options for developing the property.

The sale puts Fieldstone in a much healthier financial condition, said Jeff Meyers, president of Meyers Group, a Newport Beach real estate consulting firm.

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