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Neal Communities' David Hunihan, Whitney Ellis and Pat Neal are eager to start home sales in the community.
East County Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2010 8 years ago

Partnership spurs Ranch's Miramar

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by: Pam Eubanks Senior Editor

LAKEWOOD RANCH — After several years of dormancy, construction in one of Lakewood Ranch’s premiere town home and villa communities soon will be under way once again.

Through a joint venture between Hoffman Development Group and Neal Communities, three developers are working to build the remainder of Miramar over the next two years.

The deal between Neal Communities President Pat Neal and Hoffman Development’s Al Hoffman and Charles Brasington became official in June, but the trio, known collectively as Miramar at Lakewood Ranch LLC, have been working to design buildings, secure permits and start construction on two model homes since.

Home sales began Dec. 1, and Neal said model homes should open Feb. 19 — in time for the annual Parade of Homes event.

“These will be attractive homes right on the golf course,” Neal said. “My belief is they will be easy to sell and very successful.”

The undeveloped property includes 44 town home sites with views of the lake and golf course, as well 16 condominium sites.

Hoffman Development Group purchased 89 of 172 properties in Miramar out of foreclosure from Orion Bank at a price of $6.4 million — less than half their original value — in November 2008. Brasington said he and Hoffman quickly set to work to sell the remaining 29 homes available for purchase. The effort took about one year.

“Then, we started looking to start a business to build out the rest,” Brasington said. “It didn’t make economic sense to staff up for only 60 units.”

At that time, the company began looking for a builder with which to partner. Neal Communities, who has continued to have consistent new home sales in a down market, seemed the perfect fit, Brasington said, noting Neal’s quality of work and customer satisfaction levels.

Neal agreed the partnership seemed to fall into place.

“We need this maintenance-free product for our second-home customer,” Neal said. “It’s a gated-community. It’s also an ideal product for our young professionals, who have busy lives and don’t necessarily want to maintain their own dwelling unit.

“We have 12 active single-family products, but nothing like this and nothing on the golf course at the prices that will be offered,” he said.

The Miramar homes, he said, would be a continuation of Neal’s product in Wexford, which sold out last month.

Brasington said he and his partners are hopeful Miramar will continue to be successful moving forward, a belief inspired by the fact that Hoffman Development was able to maintain its prices for Miramar despite a 20% value drop in the market since purchasing the property.

Home prices at Miramar started this week in the low $200,000s.

Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].

ABOUT THE PARTNERS
Al Hoffman has been in the real estate industry since 1961. A graduate of West Point, he built what became WCI Communities, selling his stake in the company in 2005 before becoming a U.S. ambassador to Portugal for two years.

Charlie Brasington came under Hoffman’s wing in 1985, and worked his way up the ladder, eventually becoming a division president of WCI.

The two have worked on projects such as Waterlefe Golf & River Club in the East County and the Venetian Golf and River Club in Venice. They formally joined forces as Hoffman Development Group after Hoffman returned from his stint in Portugal in 2007.

Pat Neal, owner of Neal Communities, has been a homebuilder for nearly 40 years, and has constructed nearly 8,000 homes. Currently, his company is actively selling in 10 communities, including six in the East County and two in North Manatee.

 

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