PALMDALE, CA-SunCal Cos. of Irvine has closed on its purchase of the 18-square-mile Ritter Ranch development site after entering the winning bid of $57 million in a US Bankruptcy Court sale of the property, where 7,200 homes and a series of commercial developments are planned.

Privately held SunCal outbid three others in the bankruptcy court sale to acquire the Ritter Ranch property, site of a long-stalled efforts to develop a new community in Southwest Palmdale. With SunCal’s acquisition, “Construction at Ritter Ranch will move forward after a series of delays that have tied up development for nearly a decade,” says Frank Faye, president of SunCal Cos. Los Angeles/Ventura Division. Ritter Ranch has long been considered for development, but the site has been leapfrogged in recent years by other developments as a result of the bankruptcy. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year on the first of 7,200 home sites, a golf course, equestrian center, two lakes, approximately 100 acres of improved parkland, six schools and an amphitheater. The first residents could begin living in Ritter Ranch by the end of 2005, with development continuing over the next decade. Commercial development is planned on eight sites proposed within the project, all of them intended to serve multi-tenant, maximum two-story retail and office development totaling approximately 73 acres. The commercial buildings will comprise approximately 692,135 sf of gross leasable area, SunCal says, with proposed uses to include neighborhood-serving retail stores, a farmers’ market, a supermarket, an open-air amphitheatre and office space.Other current SunCal projects in development in the area include Tesoro del Valle, Northlake and Plum Canyon, all within the Santa Clarita Valley. The company is also developing Westport at Mandalay Bay in Oxnard, which is California’s first new coastal waterway development in decades.

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