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Investor Moving Ahead on 337-Home Project in San Jacinto

The Press-Enterprise, 2020/09/03

A big real estate investor says it’s moving ahead with plans to get 337 single-family homes built in San Jacinto.

Walton Group, a Canadian company relocating its headquarters to Arizona, says it has a deal with “a national homebuilder” to move forward with the entitlement process on 94 acres of Riverside County land off Ramona Expressway near Mt. San Jacinto College.

Walton recently acquired the land for what’s known as the “Las Colinas” project and is now working to get final government approval for homes on lots that will range in size from 50- to 70-feet wide. Groundbreaking is expected in 2022 and homeowners moving in by 2023.

“We see this as a growing, affordable market,” says Barry Dluzen, Walton’s executive vice president. “The builders see the numbers moving in the right direction.”

The region has seen an upswing in new home sales. In the 12 months ended in July, builders closed sales on 6,039 news homes in Riverside County, a 10% increase above the previous year, according to DQNews.

Walton is partnering with major builders to acquire raw land and get their projects through the local entitlement process required before home construction can begin. Walton, which controls $3.4 billion worth of real estate nationwide, says 3,262 acres of that land is in the Inland Empire.

Among Walton’s other local assets, as listed on its website, are the 695-home Warren Foothills neighborhood, also in San Jacinto; the 3,487-unit Highland Falls community in Desert Hot Springs; the 580-lot Tuscan Hills project in the Coachella Valley; and the 217-lot Escondida project in Coachella.

Walton’s Dluzen says the Inland Empire’s relatively lower land prices compared with much of California makes it an attractive investment.

“We look anywhere we can get the right metrics for affordability and strong job and population growth,” Dluzen says, noting his interest in the Temecula area. “We’re feeling bullish on the Inland Empire.”