Lennar Joins Meritage and Richmond at La Estancia in Tucson

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8 November 2017, TUCSON, Arizona – Sunbelt Holdings, the developer of La Estancia, a 556-acre, 2,500-lot master planned community, has sold 350 lots in 2017 with Meritage, Richmond and now Lennar Homes there.

La Estancia has sold more lots than any master planned community in metro Tucson, making it the best performing community for lot sales this year. Residents benefit from community amenities including a sparkling pool, splash pad, shaded ramadas and play equipment, ready for use. Future plans include sports fields and more.

Lennar closed on 112-lots for $6.16 million, or $55,000 per finished lot and $1,100 per front foot.

Senior Vice President at Sunbelt Holdings, Bob Bambauer* who oversees the La Estancia project told us that due to the increased demand for the 50-wides, they intend to replat the 65-foot wides to 45-foot wide lots.

“With the recent lots sales and the replatting of the larger lots, we are now focused on planning the southern half of the site,” said Bambauer. “We will have a variety of lot sizes ready for development throughout 2018 and beyond.”

Read more: https://realestatedaily-news.com/lennar-joins-meritage-richmond-la-estancia-tucson/

  • Bambauer came to one of our HOA meetings to tell us we were getting tipped-off by the prior majority lot owners.
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Daniel Feig is buying lots in Sycamore Vista

Just received a call from Daniel Feig of Chapman Lindsey real estate who is contacting owners of lots for Russo to buy in Unit 8. He offered me $5000 for an undeveloped lot and I said OK. He also said he is buying lots in other Units. Said he recently bought an acre lot in Unit 7 for $12k.

Mr. Feig’s phone number is: 520-747-4000 ext 103.

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Unit 5: Russo sells 43 lots for $18,500 each

5 April 2017 — D.R. Horton wrapped up the final 43 lots of 184 total at Sycamore Vista [Unit 5] in Vail, Arizona for $795,000 ($18,500 per lot). Previously known as New Tucson, these lots were re-platted and sold by NT Properties. This concludes the Sycamore Vista lot sales.

Hmmmm, only $18,500/lot?! Must mean that D.R. Horton will put in the curbs and streets, sewer and utilities are already there.

Tucson - Google Maps (1)

Final phase of Unit 5: Where will Russo go next?

Read more: D.R. Horton, Tucson’s Largest New Home Builder’s Latest Buying Spree

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Two developments to compete with Sycamore Vista, Russo

Santa Rita Ranch III

From March 2017, this is east of Sycamore Vista and south of Camino Del Torro, also looks better than Sycamore Vista. Huge competitor for Russo.

Richmond American and Lennar Homes are the first two homebuilders to enter Santa Rita Ranch Phase III. Each builder purchased 68 SFR lots recently from Crown West Realty (Dean Wingert, VP) for a finished cost of $50,750 per lot, or $6.9 million.

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Santa Rita Ranch III

Read More: Santa Rita Ranch III Moves Ahead with Two New Homebuilders in the Vail Area

Sycamore Canyon II

Article is from January 2015. Paper lots for $5452/lot, looks much better than Sycamore Vista.

The Remington Group plans to donate 30 of these lots, or about 5.5 acres, to the Vail School District, for next year’s construction of a new elementary school.

This is SE of Sycamore Vista. Looks like Russo is going to have a hard time selling lots.

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Sycamore Canyon II

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Download the Sycamore Canyon Trail Map (PDF) — Upper-right is Harrison Road

Read more: Remington Group Closes on 431 Lots, Donates Portion to Vail School District

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Blog is back up

As you know, I lost my lawsuit or actually ran out of money, spent more than $125,000 on it and settled with Russo for not much more, essentially broke even or maybe lost something but I’m moving on. It was one of the worst experiences in my life, had to take many tranquilizers. I lost my retirement income property >$1-million in assets for which we never should have paid development fees on.

Had to take this website down because of the hyperbole, name-calling because I was furious. Blog is now up because it’s the sad history of the Sycamore Vista subdivision.

Of concern to us all is future development and water. Most of the competing subdivisions nearby have larger, nicer lots. Will be interesting to see how Russo can compete, can he get enough water? Will he try and turn SV into “affordable housing”? As you know, he is affiliated with several non-profit corporations that try to benefit first-time homebuyers or low-income homebuyers.

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Offered to sell Russo my two Unit 2 lots for $25k each

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My guesthouse-office (built 1924?) where I spend the day, since this pic was taken in 2010, there are new windows, TV, speakers and printer. I lived here more than 35-years. There’s a kitchenette on the far left. Would like to find another home far away.

Made an offer to sell my two lots in Unit 2. If this lot sale goes through I’ll lose a little money, lots are selling for $35-$40k. I have about $30k invested in each of them — for more than 10-years, some Unit 2 lot owners owned their lots since the 1970s! The $27k HOA liens (assessments) for development (streets, sewer, water, etc.), were imposed around 2006.

It’s worth losing the anxiety this caused and focus on more important things if this sale goes through.

My two lots are premium for size and/or location and there are no two-story homes next to it — if there was, then the builder couldn’t build 2-stories next to it.

One of my friends has called this my Moby Dick and we know how that ended, lol.

EDIT: I sold the two lots for $25k each and as a condition of the sale had to delete disparaging remarks from this blog. Truth is not disparaging.

devilcombined

The devil is a slanderer, false accuser, one thing I truly dislike is liars. If there is anything untrue, including errors of omission I will correct it and apologize!

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Unit 2 lot cleanup & lawsuit

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Unit 2 Lot 131, the grass wasn’t bad but the weeds (a few tumbleweeds and several Desert Broom) were hard to get with a lawnmower.

Lot cleanup time, hopefully the last time. All I could think about while cleaning the lots was how rotten Russo is for “stealing” our lots and not helping us sell our lots in Unit 2 and how things went wrong in this subdivision. Plus how hard it was, how many bruises I’d get and if I was going to die of a heart attack, dehydration (temp was about 90 and I have hyperhidrosis) or drinking bad water. (I forgot the bottled water so I drank from a clean six-gallon plastic jug filled from garden hose that was for mixing into a weed-killer sprayer but it tasted like plastic.)

If you own a lot in Unit 2 or 5 and you asked Russo to help you sell your lot or, if Russo offered to buy your lot (at a huge loss to you) please contact me (Raquel Baranow), I’m preparing a lawsuit against the HOA and Russo for not helping us sell our lots, breach of contract (Article 10 of the CC&R’s) and self-dealing.

Thought of my friend who once (or twice) helped me clean these lots and committed suicide – or got drunk and fell onto the train tracks and got run over – I’m still not sure what to believe.

Thought of another Unit 2 lot owner who sent me many emails, their last email said they both just got out of the hospital (they’re in their 80’s) and if I didn’t hear from them again . . . .

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Lot 131 finished (10-second timer, drenched in sweat), with ticky-tacky houses. Note the Desert Broom on the 15-foot easement on the right. Pretty sure that’s Mica Mountain (elevation 8666-ft, in the Rincon Mtn Range, Saguaro National Park, if not, it’s Tanque Verde Peak, el. 7049) on the far, left.

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296 undeveloped lots for sale adjacent (south) of Sycamore Vista

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Land Advisors is selling 296 platted lots south of Sycamore Vista for $4.4 million, that’s $14,864 per lot. Dimensions of the lots are Approx. 115’ x 135’ – a little bigger than most of the lots in Sycamore Vista.

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Development Cost Estimates: Approximately $40,000 (Based on current bids and additional consultant review). Homebuilder to be responsible for individual lot pad development, i.e., sewer, water, electric, streets, (cost to vary).

Read more at Land Advisors website (PDF).

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How much does Russo get paid for legal service to non-profits and the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima?

Unfortunately, I have been unable to obtain a recent, complete budget for the Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima (IDA), for which Russo is essentially CEO. The IDA is considered independent of Pima County so it’s not part of their accounting and it’s a government entity so it does not file an IRS Form 990 for non-profit corporations.

I went to the IDA website and in an Excel spreadsheet added up all the bond amounts from 2001-2015 (there’s many more from before 2001) and found that the IDA received $3,248,709 over those years and is receiving that approximate amount every year. (The IDA receives .10% of the bond amount annually plus, large fees that cover the costs of the application and administration.) How does the IDA spend this money?

What kind of assets does the IDA have?

In 1993-94, The Industrial Development Authority of the County of Pima (“Pima IDA”) bought sixteen apartment complexes in Maricopa County, which had full cash values totaling $14,585,636 and claimed that they were exempt from ad valorem taxation because Pima IDA was a political subdivision of the state and, therefore, its property was “state” property, which is constitutionally exempted from taxation. The tax court upheld the tax and the Arizona Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Arizona Corporation Commission required primitive budgets whenever a Corporation filed its annual report. I found very strange budgets for the IDA from 1995 to 2007, which didn’t change much or show any large assets like those, above.

When County Supervisor Reg T. Morrison lost his seat in 1992, he became Treasurer and a Director of the IDA.

SUPPORT THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PURPOSES AND ACTIVITIES OF THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE COUNTY OF PIMA SALT PURCHASES AND REHABILITATES HOMES TO SELL OR RENT TO LOW-TO-MODERATE INCOME RESIDENTS OF PIMA COUNTY

Gross receipts $923,231 / Bob Schwartz (Russo attorney), CEO, 40hrs/wk, $86,949 (no time for other legal work?); Paul Sorenson (worked as chief financial officer for the prior majority lot owners in Sycamore Vista, which ended up causing National Bank of Arizona to lose $32-million!), COO, 40hrs/wk, $88,294 / Family Housing Resources, Independent Contractor received $333,596 in compensation / Management $86,208, Legal $7,348 / Loans from IDA $2,053,214

Gross receipts $6,250,680 / Russo, Russo & Slania, PC, Independent Contractor $125,567 / Management $69,038, Legal $90,442 / Forgiven loans $2,000,000

Gross receipts $4,233,400 / Russo, Russo & Slania, PC, Independent Contractor $131,000 / Management $81,830, Legal $127,147

CIC PROVIDED LOANS AND FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE TO BUSINESSES WITHIN PIMA COUNTY THAT WERE UNABLE TO OBTAIN SUCH THROUGH TRADITIONAL SOURCES  LOANS WERE MADE ON THE BASIS OF PUBLIC PURPOSE FOR BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYMENT RETENTION/CREATION  CIC ALSO PROVIDED SUPPORT SERVICES TO THE INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY OF THE COUNTY OF PIMA  CIC ALSO PROVIDED BUSINESS START UP ASSISTANCE INCLUDING SEED MONEY TO START UP BUSINESSES  CIC ADMINISTRATED THE CHARTER SCHOOL COMPLIANCE FOR BONDS ISSUED BY VARIOUS DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITIES  CIC PROVIDED FISCAL AGENT SERVICES TO TUCSON AND PIMA COUNTY FOR THEIR DOWN PAYMENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Gross receipts $1,674,986 / Frank Valenzuela, Executive Director (also serves on the IDA), 40hrs/wk $123,400  / Other salaries & wages $223,603 / Revenue from: Charter School Loan Adm $318,965 / Legal $53,529 / Bad debt (expense writeoff) $452,955 / PTHS due (liability) to IDAS (of Pima County, IDA plural?) $540,639

NOTE: Russo is not mentioned this year but in 2011, below.

Gross receipts $1,666,088 / Frank Valenzuela, Executive Director (also serves on the IDA), 40hrs/wk $121,128  / Other salaries & wages $174,985 / Revenue from: Charter School Loan Adm $316,617 / Legal $54,493 / Bad debt (expense writeoff) $162,491 / Exchange of assets with IDA Pima County $72,000

NOTE: Russo is not mentioned this year but in 2011, below.

Gross receipts $2,370,896 / Frank Valenzuela, Executive Director (also serves on the IDA), 40hrs/wk $141,481  / Russo, Russo & Slania, PC, Independent Contractor $114,000 / Other salaries & wages $129,000 / Revenue from: Charter School Loan Adm $304,464 / Legal $110,911 / Bad debt (expense writeoff) $110,440 / Performance of services with IDA of Pima County $87,000

Similar local non-profits

My next blog post will be about the IDA selling bonds to fund charter schools — most of which aren’t in Pima County and whether or not the Board of Supervisors should approve those IDA bonds.

84PercentCharterSchools

84% of charter school funding comes from the State, vote NO on Prop 123!

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Someone trying to sell their Unit 2 lot for $14k, half of what we invested in it

Unit2Zillow

We paid $27,000 for improvements (sewer, streets, electric, water) on our lots and now we can’t sell them. Only major builders would build in such a subdivision and HOA president Steven Russo would not help us sell to builders, in violation of the CC&Rs and law!

The HOAs Russo is president of in Sycamore Vista have not had regular meetings in years! He originally appointed Ceci Cruz and Virginia Yrun (liberal Democratic activists) to the HOA boards (the same two on the Industrial Authority board, probably so Russo could ram anything he wanted through the Pima County Board of Supervisors) but soon realized we lot owners are NOT happy!

Russo was supposed to help us sell our lots in Unit 2, Article 10 of the CC&Rs says that’s one of the purposes of the HOA. Major builders will not buy individual lots, custom builders will not build in DR Horton ticky-tacky stucco-sheet-rock+2×4 subdivisions. We did not know that at the time we were forced into the HOA. Being forced into an HOA is illegal now, it is prima facie unconscionable that we’re forced into this HOA. Russo is self-dealing in violation of Corporate rules. Russo promised to help me sell my Unit 2 lots but refused after he sued me to “steal” $450,000 worth of property in Unit 5.

After the Monsoons in August the Unit 2 HOA will send us lot owners Notice to clean weeds off our lots. If we disobey, they will hire someone to do it and bill us hundreds of dollars. It is usually 100-degrees F in August. One of the other lot owners is 85-years old and is forced to clean weeds. This is unconscionable!

Me after cleaning up Unit 2 Lot 189

Lots of sweat on my shirt from cleaning (mowing) weeds!

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