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ATLANTA-San Francisco-based Hearthstone, which calls itself the nation’s largest institutional investor in residential development, is putting up $35.2 million for three planned shelter ventures in the metro area.

The California firm has closed lot option deals with Alpharetta, GA-based MDC Homes which plans to build 600 single-family and townhomes that will have an estimated build-out value of $168 million, or about $280,000 per house.

Founded in 1956, MDC Homes closed 1,363 homes last year with combined revenue of $281 million in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

“Greater Atlanta remains one of the bullish growth markets targeted by Hearthstone,” says Cindy Gilmore, corporate vice president and chief of Hearthstone’s eastern US operations. “Recent indicators continue to show a brisk pace in housing starts nationwide. This obviously bodes well for the industry, demonstrating its resiliency and ability to continue bringing strong returns to investors.”

She says Hearthstone’s activities with prospective home developments in the city are “a reflection of this confidence.” Gilmore adds MDC is ranked “among the 20 fastest growing builders in the nation since 2000.”

In its deal with MDC, Hearthstone has committed $12.2 million for Sugarloaf Parkway in Gwinnett, GA. That project will consist of 267 lots on 116.5 acres south of Highway 316 on Sugarloaf Parkway where homes will have an aggregate for-sale value of $66.8 million. The $12.2 million equates to $45,693 per lot.

At Kelly Mills in Forsyth, GA, Hearthstone is investing $14.8 million, or $61,667 per lot, on 240 lots located on 133.5 acres on the south side of Kelly Mill Road, west of Jason Drive. The build-out value is estimated at $60 million.

And at Belcrest at McGinnis Ferry in North Fulton, GA, Hearthstone is providing $8.2 million, or $79,612 per lot, for 103 lots on 37.4 acres on the south side of McGinnis Ferry Road, across from the St. Mario Country Club. The build-out value will be about $41.2 million.

Hearthstone has committed $7 billion to residential ventures nationwide since the company was founded in 1992, according to Gilmore. To date, the company has financed 339 communities in 60 markets in 20 states, representing 45,000 homes.

Gilmore says Hearthstone manages “a substantial source” of investment capital from public and private pension plans, university endowments, Fortune 100 companies and large private trusts.

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