Land Entitlement

The entitlement process, while arduous, is the most fundamental part of creating value for the underlying land asset. As an experienced land investor, WCHP understands entitlement risk. When managed properly, the risks related to mapping and clearing environmental thresholds can be appropriately navigated, causing entitlements to be a question of when, not if. In a jurisdiction with a relatively favorable, development-friendly climate, the entitlement premium and risk are lower because of higher potential supply. The highest premium and corresponding risk can be found in urban or coastal areas where growth is constrained by vocal opponents, making entitled land truly a precious commodity.

WCHP’s ability to close transactions on an unlevered basis allows them to move quickly and be creative when structuring acquisitions. The team’s experience and expertise in the land business enables them to consider acquisitions of parcels that may be partially-entitled, unentitled or with severe environmental challenges. Management can quickly and thoroughly analyze and assess the complex issues involved in the acquisition of large land parcels.

Prior to forming WCHP, its principals founded and ran a major home building and land development company in Southern California which entitled and delivered thousands of lots to public and private builders. Some of their major entitlement transactions are described below:

San Miguel Ranch – 750 Acres in Chula Vista, California
The 750-acre master-planned community, located in Chula Vista, California was acquired from the REO department of a major bank. At acquisition, it had a minimal level of entitlements. Working with the City of Chula Vista, County of San Diego, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, California Department of Fish and Game, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, CalTrans, local government agencies and several community groups, management was able to secure the entitlements for a community containing 1,046 detached homes, 339 condominiums, 29 acres of parks, a 10-acre commercial site, an elementary school, plus 244 acres of open space. The acquired entitlements included a Specific Plan, tentative tract maps and the formation of three separate Community Facilities Districts, which issued public debt for the project.  In addition, a multi-party agreement between the City of Chula Vista, County of San Diego, U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the California Department of Fish and Game was negotiated to effect the habitat mitigation for the project.  This agreement also included directly brokering a settlement of a lawsuit between the California Native Plant Society and the U.S. Interior Department.   

The Corona Valley – 300 Acres in Corona, California
The project was in the path of development, included three dairy farms, and was surrounded by working dairies and land for agricultural uses. The property’s long term potential was recognized and acquired in just thirty days. The team completed the entitlement effort of 1,240 residential lots, a 12-acre park, an elementary school, and a 10-acre commercial site. Due to the previous agricultural uses, management worked closely with the County of Riverside to develop a methane remediation protocol, which at the time of acquisition did not exist in the County.

51 Acres in Corona, California
The 51-acre site is located in the Eastvale area of Riverside County at the southeast corner of Harrison Avenue and Citrus Street. It was comprised of three separate parcels (a-38 acre parcel, a 10-acre parcel and a 3-acre parcel) which were acquired as vacant unimproved land that had previously been utilized for agricultural purposes. Management designed and obtained entitlements for 183, 6,000 square foot minimum single-family lots. These were then segregated into two residential tracts; one with 92 lots and one with 91 lots, plus a park. Upon completion of the final engineering, tracts maps were recorded and the paper lots were sold to merchant builders.

60 Acres in Corona, California
The 60-acre site is located in the Eastvale area of Riverside County, north of Schleisman Road and west of Archibald Avenue. The site is accessed from four major freeways: State Highway 91, Interstate 15, State Highway 60, and State Highway 71. The site was comprised of two separate parcels; a 40-acre parcel and a 20-acre parcel, which were acquired as vacant unimproved land. The 40-acre property had previously been used for agricultural purposes. The western two-thirds of the 20-acre property had been vacant, while the remaining land was being used as a wash pond for the adjoining dairy to the north. The team designed and obtained entitlements for 190, 6,500 minimum square foot single-family lots, which were separated into two residential tracts of 96 and 94 lots. The team completed the engineering and recorded the tract maps prior to selling the paper lots to merchant builders.

North Shore at Mandalay Bay – 90 Acres in Oxnard, California
Upon the acquisition of the property out of Bankruptcy Court, the team successfully completed a very complex procedure of entitlement and regulatory approvals on this coastal parcel. The property, formerly a dump site for oil well drilling waste materials, required approval of a Feasibility Study and Remedial Action Plan from the California Department of Toxic Substances Control. The property also required further approvals from: the City of Oxnard, the California Coastal Commission, the County of Ventura, the Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Regional Water Quality Control Board, plus numerous environmental groups including the Sierra Club, the Native Plant Society, and the Environmental Defense Center. The end result was a development of 292 single-family detached homes.

 

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