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IRVINE, CA-SunCal Cos., a 70-year-old development firm whose projects include some of the largest in Southern California, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on 17 of its projects that were depending on funding from Lehman Bros., which went bankrupt in September. Spokesman Joe Aguirre of SunCal tells GlobeSt.com that the Chapter 11 filings apply solely to the entities that filed the bankruptcy actions, most of them LLCs, and not to SunCal itself.

SunCal issued a statement Monday saying that the LLCs “have been forced to file for Chapter 11 involuntary bankruptcy, with the goal of obtaining new funding for the projects and sustaining them through completion.” Aguirre tells GlobeSt.com that SunCal has another source lined up that’s willing to commit up to $75 million for critical expenses at the projects, although that funding must be approved by the bankruptcy court.

The projects that are affected, which are in various stages of planning and development, include 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. in Century City and the 248-acre Marblehead Coastal project in San Clemente. The 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. site is planned for a 45-story luxury condominium high-rise, while the Marblehead Coastal project is planned for a combination of housing, retail, entertainment and hotel development on one of the last remaining oceanfront development sites in Orange County.

The SunCal statement said that Lehman was the financial partner for some of the Irvine-based company’s projects. The statement quoted David Soyka, a company spokesman, who said, “The ripple effect of the Lehman bankruptcy has caused the slowing or suspension of certain projects. Our investors understand that SunCal’s ongoing process of securing new funding for these projects is the key to sustaining and strengthening our developments, now and in the future.”

In addition to the 10000 Santa Monica Blvd. and Marblehead projects, the SunCal Cos. projects affected by the Lehman bankruptcy include developments in both Southern and Northern California ranging from the 132-acre Johansson Ranch in Modesto to the 2,500-acre Majestic Hills project in Hesperia in the High Desert region of the Inland Empire.

SunCal has more than 250,000 residential units and 25 million square feet of commercial space in various stages of development, and is the largest privately held developer in the western US. The company operates in California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Florida and Washington, DC.

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