Bloomberg Press: Lehman, SunCal Battle in Court for Luxury Home Sites


Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Overlooking the Pacific Ocean south of Los Angeles sits a neighborhood of streets without houses, a nascent development for 313 luxury homes and a prize in a court battle between Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and SunCal Cos.

SunCal, the California developer, and Lehman, the New York- based investment bank, were allies for a decade in turning land into homes for sale. Lehman put up the money, and SunCal bought sites and readied them. Now, in the wake of Lehman’s collapse last year, 18 SunCal projects are in bankruptcy court in California, including the oceanside lots in San Clemente.


The family-owned company specializes in acquiring parcels of undeveloped land for which it creates master plans that include streets, parks, and sites for schools and businesses. It then obtains local-government approvals.

Once a plan is approved, sometimes after years, SunCal provides the grading and the infrastructure, including streets and utilities, then sells the parcels to homebuilders.