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(Read more on the multifamily market.)

IRVINE, CA-MBK Homes has acquired a seven-acre site in Gardena where the locally based company plans to develop 97 townhouses, 34 of them to be live/work units. The project will be the first new residential development in the City of Gardena’s recently adopted Artesia Corridor Specific Plan, notes Tim Kane, president of MBK Homes.

The location of the future MBK project is on the south side of Artesia Boulevard, between Western and Normandie avenues. The property is entitled for residential buildings of two and three stories.

MBK is already under way with architectural plans for the project, which it expects to begin construction on in the latter part of this year. The tentative schedule calls for the development to be completed in the second or third quarter of 2008.

According to Kane, the acquisition of the Gardena property represents another step in an expansion strategy for MBK, which is looking at “infill locations where there is a strong need for new housing.” MBK is also pursuing other development site acquisitions in Southern California, and has several other new projects planned for later this year, he adds.

Kane points out that the land purchase is also significant because most other new home builders have not purchased any new properties for the last six to nine months. Those who have acquired new land in most cases had already contracted to buy the land before the market began to turn, he notes.

According to George Schader, senior vice president at MBK, the company began, negotiated and closed the Gardena land deal in “just the past few months.” In its search for other properties, MBK is looking at land in communities close to commuter routes to employment and business centers.

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