Monday, October 19, 2009

Green Lining to Real Estate Bust

Developers' bust proves a boon for land trusts
Peter Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, October 19, 2009

San Francisco-based Trust for Public Land recently agreed to purchase and forever preserve 595 acres of oak woodlands and 2 miles of river in the Sierra foothills.

The chaparral-covered land 15 miles outside of Marysville had been slated to be bulldozed for homes. But the housing bust allowed the trust to swoop in with a $4 million offer that was quickly accepted.

It seems like a rare opportunity, but all over California, tough economic times are forcing investors and developers to abandon housing projects and real estate deals that would have made them a fortune just a few years ago. Conservation organizations and trusts are moving in to buy the land, often at bargain basement prices.

The trust has also made a $3 million offer for the adjacent 505-acre Blue Point property, a stunningly picturesque area of historic sites and spectacular cliffs that were scoured out by hydraulic gold mining between 1865 and 1884.

And, it is in the process of purchasing the Bruin Ranch, a 2,300-acre oak woodland about 15 miles away for $12.6 million. It was for sale for $30 million three years ago.

Land deals are being negotiated by the trust throughout the country, including 80 acres of waterfront property in Florida owned by the company run by former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo.

Read the complete story here.

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