Workers are completing a house on 44th Street in Sacramento for builder Mike Paris, who plans similar East Sacramento-style homes in Roseville.
A little bit of East Sacramento is coming to Roseville.
A newly formed homebuilding company out of Woodland has purchased 84 lots in Roseville’s Diamond Creek development and is negotiating for another 55, intending to start construction this year on homes with throwback designs evoking Sacramento’s older neighborhoods.
“The flavor of the community will be closely tied to what I’m doing in East Sac,” said Mike Paris, co-founder of BlackPine Communities. He has a background in production housing but also builds homes on single lots in East Sacramento.
The home designs for Diamond Creek are still being refined but Paris said he hoped the project could break ground in about three months.
The venture is the latest to be born from the ashes of the housing bust.
“My life, my background, my blood is in homebuilding,” said Paris, who worked for more than 15 years at Kimball Hill Homes, a national builder based in suburban Chicago that was liquidated in bankruptcy in 2008.
After Kimball Hill shut down, he started looking for his own opportunities. A recruiter last year introduced Paris to Jeff Morgan, owner of the commercial real estate and mining operations company Black Pine Holdings, which had no previous homebuilding experience. They combined resources, formed Black Pine Communities and launched a new mining venture as well. Black Pine Holdings has $35 million in assets, backing from GE Capital and a credit facility with River City Bank.
In addition to the Diamond Creek lots, the company has an interest in Woodland’s Spring Lake development and lots in the Lake Almanor basin.
The Diamond Creek master plan has been developed over the past two decades by Stephen Des Jardins, who confirmed the sale but declined to discuss details. Paris said it was an all-cash deal, but did not elaborate.
Des Jardins said all but 2 percent of the land in Diamond Creek has been developed. As he winds down development there, he is launching a development in Auburn called Baltimore Ravine.
A plan to build housing during the worst sales slump in recent history is not without risk, but housing analysts say some new home projects have been able to succeed.
“I’m really high on Roseville,” said Dean Wehrli, senior manager at John Burn Consulting in Sacramento. “It’s a comparably healthier market with the rest of Sacramento, it has the best fundamentals; I can’t stress that enough.”
But that means tougher competition as well. The city has more than 20 new-home communities with active sales, double that of any other area in the region.
Black Pine’s initial designs appear to be a blend of Tudor style with traditional California architecture, featuring steeply peaked roofs, partial stone facades, wood shutters and architectural flourishes harkening back to the early 20th century when homes started to fill the East Sacramento neighborhood.
As new home sales have plummeted over the past several years, builders have reworked designs to lure buyers, with varying results. Paris said he’s spent more time than he anticipated refining the designs for his project, calling the homes distinctive and traditional.
The project also is higher density than many other portions of Diamond Creek, so design becomes more important in creating a sense of community. If that calls to mind one of Sacramento’s neighborhoods that have held up strongly in the real estate crisis, so much the better.
All the same, Wehrli said design isn’t the top priority for buyers in today’s market.
“It’s really going to come down to price,” he said.
Paris said prices for the homes, ranging from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet, have not been finalized. They will be situated on relatively small lots, but those sizes also have not been set, he said.
While the housing development is nearing launch, the company’s new mining venture, named National EWP, already has taken off. Mining companies posted record profits last year, the Wall Street Journal reported this week.
Black Pine has hired 120 workers since November, most are in the mining operation that performs core drilling in Arizona, Idaho and other western states for other companies searching for metals.
“We need to double that,” he said. “Probably by the third quarter we’ll be closer to 200.”
View original article Sacramento Business Journal, Builder plans ‘East Sac’ houses in Roseville.