Printer Friendly

MUSICK WANTS CITY RANCH LOAN WOULD COVER PAIR OF PROJECTS.

Byline: Jim Skeen Staff Writer

PALMDALE - A Colorado developer trying to revive the 7,200-home Ritter Ranch master-planned community is also negotiating to take over the neighboring 4,500-home City Ranch project.

John Musick and his partners have a $201 million loan in escrow that would be used to take over both projects.

Musick is negotiating with KB Home for the City Ranch project. And provisions for that project's acquisition are included in the recovery plan for Ritter Ranch that was approved by a federal bankruptcy court.

``There have been ongoing negotiations, but nothing has been finalized,'' Musick's attorney, David Neale, said Friday. ``Part of the $201 million is earmarked for City Ranch. The money is there if they are willing to sell to us.''

Sources familiar with the negotiations said City Ranch would be a natural fit with the Ritter Ranch project. The adjoining projects share agreements on such issues as water and sewer, making it logical to have them under one ownership.

City Ranch was approved by the city of Palmdale in 1993, but was stalled by the recession. At one point KB Home, formerly Kaufman and Broad, had partnered with The Newhall Land and Farming Company to revive the project.

Newhall Land has since pulled out of the partnership.

As part of City Ranch, KB Home is already building 200 houses in the Delta Ridge tract on Elizabeth Lake Road.

Planned on what is now cattle land in the Ana Verde Valley, City Ranch would include some 4,500 homes and apartments, neighborhood shopping centers, schools, a lake, parks, riding and hiking trails and a public golf course.

As for the Ritter Ranch project, Musick has an agreement with the city that calls for the debt owed on a $50 million bond issue for the project to be paid up front. The exact amount owed is being calculated.

Musick also would have to pay the city $1.25 million for administering the bonds.

The agreement requires Ritter Ranch Development to fulfill a requirement in the original development agreement calling for a $3 million contribution toward a new City Hall, which has since been built.

Under the new agreement, Ritter Ranch Development would make payments in increments of $1,500 for each of the building permits issued on the first 2,000 homes.

Musick, who worked on water issues for the original developers, had tried to take over the project in August 1998. That bid ended a few months later when Musick filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

In February 2000, a federal bankruptcy court approved a city-backed plan for Newport Beach-based Sage Community Group to take over the project from Musick's Ritter Ranch Development LLC.

Initially arguing that his agreement with the city gave him exclusive development rights to the project, Musick dropped his opposition to the Sage plan with the understanding that if the company failed to perform, he would get another opportunity to put together a recovery plan.

Sage, despite a series of extensions, was unable to finalize its plan and notified the city in a Nov. 30 letter that it was dropping its bid to take over the project.

The Ritter Ranch project - envisioned as a state-of-the-art master- planned community in the hills of west Palmdale and south of Elizabeth Lake Road - has been entangled for years in lawsuits and bankruptcy proceedings.

The project's original developers, a company formed by Lorimar Telepictures executives Irwin Molasky and Merv Adelsen, were able to get the requisite approvals for the project and fend off lawsuits from neighboring homeowners concerned about the loss of their rural lifestyle. The company, however, lost the project in a foreclosure by its lender in January 1997.

Palmdale, which is the administrator of $50 million in bonds issued for improvements to the project but is not responsible for the payments, began its own foreclosure proceedings in May 1997 against the lender, Bankers Trust.

In May 1998, a settlement agreement was reached to hold off foreclosure proceedings and allow Bankers Trust to find a developer to take on the project.

That led to Musick's first attempt.

CAPTION(S):

map

Map:

Ritter Ranch/City Ranch
COPYRIGHT 2001 Daily News
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Aug 18, 2001
Words:690
Previous Article:ARMED ROBBERS SENTENCED TO TERMS OF 8, 30 YEARS.
Next Article:KNIGHT TAKES HARD LINE ON FAMILY VALUES REMARKS SPARK REACTION.


Related Articles
BUILDER HAS UNTIL OCT. 31 TO FUND LOAN TRUSTEE WAITING TO TAKE OVER.
RITTER RANCH REVIVED DEVELOPER TAKING SECOND STAB AT PLANNED HILL COMMUNITY.
RITTER OVERSEER NAMED JUDGE INTERVENES AFTER DEVELOPER FAILS TO OBTAIN FUNDING.
RITTER RANCH ROLLS ON HOUSING PLAN TAKEN OVER.
CITY WANTS FAILED PROJECT FINISHED; NEW DEVELOPER SOUGHT TO COMPLETE RITTER RANCH.
DEVELOPER FILES FOR BANKRUPTCY; RITTER RANCH PROJECT AGAIN ON HOLD; NO HOMES BUILT YET.
2ND RITTER DEVELOPER PUSHES ON; CHAPTER 11 FILING WON'T STOP PROJECT PLANS, MUSICK SAYS.
RITTER RANCH SOUGHT SAGE GETS INTO POSITION FOR NEW TAKEOVER TRY.
BUILDERS ANGLE FOR RITTER RANCH.
RITTER RANCH BUYOUT NEAR? DEVELOPER ENTERS $57.2 MILLION BID.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters