EXCLUSIVE: Anthem United buying big chunk of bankrupt Township Nine

Homebuilder Anthem United Homes has agreed to buy a big chunk of the bankrupt Sacramento infill project Township Nine.

The Canada-based company will buy 14 parcels within the 62.6-acre project site in the River District, on Richards Boulevard, it was disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing earlier this week.

Screen Shot 2017-08-07 at 6.09.44 PM
A view of Cannery Place Apartments at Township Nine. 

“We’re familiar with what’s happening here, and we’re excited about the Sacramento renaissance,” said Brendan Leonard, a director of land acquisition and entitlements with Anthem United. “It’s a personal and professional milestone for us to be here.”

Anthem United will pay $17.67 million for those 14 parcels, which are entitled for as many as 429 residential units. The parcels make up about a third of the entire property and are undeveloped lots west and south of Cannery Place Apartments, the only vertical construction in Township Nine so far.

The filing shows the bulk of the purchase, 11 parcels, is designated for 222 townhomes, with 25 of them designated “affordable.” The remaining three parcels are for three multifamily projects of 95, 56 and 55 units each, with some ground-floor retail space.

Leonard said the purchase is contingent on approval from the trustee for Township Nine’s bankruptcy, which was filed in May in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of California. With that approval, escrow could close within about four months. Anthem United would also need to submit or re-submit plans for those parcels for code updates, design changes and other details.

“We’re not just going to blindly inherit someone else’s project,” he said, though he added the project’s original developers, including Steve Goodwin and Nehemiah Corp., deserve credit for the work they did to get Township Nine as far along as it is already.

Construction of some townhomes in Township Nine could get underway as soon as spring or summer of next year, Leonard said.

The purchase also includes $3.8 million in fee credits for valuation purposes on the properties to be sold. But based on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the project’s owners, Township Nine Owners LLC and three associated limited liability corporations, the project’s debts are far from resolved.

According to the bankruptcy filing, the project had $45 million in debts, with $42 million of that stemming from the original project loan from a Bay Area firm, Copia Lending LLC. The project was also in arrears in Sacramento County property taxes, according to the filing.

An attorney representing Township Nine Owners LLC did not immediately return a call Friday about the pending transaction. Goodwin, a minority owner in the project, also did not immediately return a call for comment.

Anthem United’s purchase leaves out several other properties within Township Nine. Those include ones designated for hundreds of multifamily units on the northwestern corner of the project, closest to the American River. They also include three properties on the southern end, near Richards Boulevard and the existing light-rail station, designated for about 800,000 square feet of office space.

Leonard said his firm is also interested in the other residential parcels, but he believed other companies are as well. Anthem United is not planning to pursue the parcels slated for office use, he said. Township Nine is also slated for 100,000 square feet of retail space.

Though Anthem United isn’t known in the area for infill, urban projects, it’s had a long presence in the region. Leonard said the company is both the master plan developer and a homebuilder on the Natomas Meadows residential project in Natomas. The company, which has a Roseville office, also is involved in projects in Roseville and El Dorado Hills.

Acquiring the piece of Township Nine meant moving quickly, said Leonard, who joked that he’s sacrificed friendships and familial relationships in the last few weeks to see the deal through.

“We know there’s a lot of interest in this project,” he said. “So we’re happy to plant a flag here.”

Article and image provided by: Sacramento Business Journal
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