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ORLANDO-Trying for three years to break into the Orlando shelter market, Bruce Karatz’s KB Home Co. of Los Angeles has closed a $74 million deal to acquire Orlando-based American Heritage Homes. KB opened a Tampa, FL and Jacksonville, FL division last year.

KB is assuming $46 million of American’s debt but gets control of 4,000 lots with an estimated market value of $80 million, based on an average $20,000 per lot, local land brokers tell GlobeSt.com on condition of anonymity. Karatz and American Heritage officials couldn’t be reached at GlobeSt.com’s publication deadline.

KB plans to build a 20,000-sf showroom in a prime area shopping center by second quarter 2003. The KB Home Studio will offer data on the company’s single-family and multi-family products, according to a published report.

American Heritage sold 800 homes in Orlando and Tampa last year with aggregate revenue of $140 million. KB sold 25,000 homes last year totaling $4.6 billion, up from $3.8 billion in 1999.

Publicly traded KB, formerly Kaufman & Broad, reported a 2001 profit of $214 million, up from $148 million in 2000. Besides California and Florida, KB operates in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico and Texas.

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