LWR-based Starwood closes on $81M housing deal

LAKEWOOD RANCH — A local real-estate investment firm said Thursday it has completed its purchase of thousands of home lots and dozens of model homes from a bankrupt Florida builder.

Starwood Land Ventures LLC closed on its $81 million acquisition of TOUSA Inc.’s Florida assets, including 5,449 undeveloped residential lots and 36 model homes, earlier this month.

Starwood, a joint venture primarily funded by investment house Starwood Capital Group Global, outbid two other groups in a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy court auction for the builder’s Florida holdings. Those holdings primarily are in the Jacksonville, Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Orlando and Tampa markets; none are in Manatee or Sarasota counties.

Mike Moser, Starwood Land Ventures’ east region president, said the investment firm plans to sell most of the lots to others for construction.

“We’re selling lots right now to Lennar (Homes) and other big builders,” he said.

Lennar already has acquired options to buy some 1,400 finished homesites in Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and South Florida, according to a recent filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The builder also has right of first refusal for another 1,400 lots throughout the state.

The homebuilder said it plans to build single-family homes, townhomes and garden villas priced from the low $100,000s on those lots.

With the acquisition of TOUSA’s Florida assets, Starwood Land Ventures now owns more than 6,400 homesites in the state. It owns another 6,700 lots in California and the greater Phoenix area.

TOUSA, a Fort Lauderdale builder that primarily did business as Eagle Homes, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in January 2008.

It had homebuilding operations in Florida, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Tennessee and Texas.

Duane Marsteller, transportation/growth and development reporter, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2630.

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