On the block 

Another planned community up for sale

The Arizona-based company that is building Avimor, a large development along Highway 55 between Boise and Horseshoe Bend, has put its Idaho property and projects in Utah, New Mexico and Arizona on the auction block.

Suncor Development Company's board of directors voted on March 27 to sell off its home building, planned community and golf course properties in the face of mounting debt and a grim real estate market.

The decision is very recent and details have not been worked out, though Suncor's parent company, Pinnacle West, indicated in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that the sale would go through in 2009, with operations at its existing properties discontinued in the next few months.

"It's not like there are any offers on the table, there are no suitors," said Bill Woodward, a spokesman for Suncor, reached by phone Monday at the company's gleaming Tempe, Ariz., office. "It would be preferable if there were one buyer that would purchase all of the Suncor communities."

The director of Suncor's Idaho operations did not return numerous phone calls, but Avimor's public relations consultant said that the news will not affect the local management team or the master plan for Avimor.

"It will be business as usual," said Craig Carter, a marketing director at Scott Peyron and Associates.

Of the 684 homes that Ada County approved for Avimor's first phase, 28 building permits have been issued. Some of those permits have not yet broken ground.

Carter said about 10 homes have been sold, but the county assessor responsible for Avimor only had evidence of three sales. And at least 22 Avimor homes are listed on the Multiple Listing Service, including one rental.

In the past year, Avimor has offered homes for trade, and ReMax West associate Phil Hoover, who is listing homes at Avimor, said three trades were made before the developers ended the program.

"It really wasn't a very good way to go," he said, adding that the values of the trade-in homes—all in the Treasure Valley—kept dropping before the deals could be sealed.

Though sales have been sluggish, the company has put in some roads and begun construction of a community center. Bike trails on the development's 23,000 acres are accessible to the public and maps are available at the Avimor office, Carter said.

Open space and public trails were a major part of Avimor's sales pitch to the county.

"The current company has been, all things considered, pretty good on the wildlife front," said Tony Jones, a Boise economist who testified against the development.

Jones said he predicted that Avimor would not be able to sell enough homes to be profitable, but he thinks an investor may be willing to buy up the development's assets for the right price.

"It kind of stops the bleeding for the existing company," he said.

The developers of Dry Creek Ranch, another planned community south of Avimor that has yet to win entitlements from the county, is also on the market.

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