Lewis Group of Companies buys land at bankruptcy auction

Matt Wrye, Staff Writer
Posted: 08/04/2009 08:00:53 PM PDT

The Lewis Group of Companies’ real-estate fiefdom just got bigger.

The Upland-based firm, owned by Lewis Operating Corp., announced this week that it has bought 800 single-family home lots in Reno, Sparks and Dayton, Nev., for about $6.5 million in a bankruptcy auction.

“The Nevada market has challenges just like the rest of the country, so we expect it will take a few years to sell all the lots,” Randall Lewis, executive vice president of the firm, said Monday. “We’re already getting phone calls from some of the local home builders expressing interest.”

The lots were sold by LandSource Holding Co. LLC LandSource, a joint venture by home builder Lennar Corp., LNR Property Corp. and MW Housing Partners, filed for bankruptcy in June 2008.

The Lewis Group of Companies – a residential-retail development firm and owner of 8,000 apartment units – has purchased more than 20 plots of land in California and Nevada for $77 million since December 2007, according to a company news release.

Some were sold by large home builders like Standard Pacific Homes, Lewis said.

Now the firm is looking for retail, shopping center and mixed-use development opportunities in the Inland Empire’s western edge, the San Gabriel Valley and north Orange County.

“We’re sort of always looking but looking harder right now,” Lewis said. “What we’re hearing now is that (retail tenants) … are focused more where there is a larger existing population.”

The firm recently broke ground on the last 250 apartment units at its Homecoming at Terra Vista complex in Rancho Cucamonga. The complex will boast more than 800 units – one of the Inland Empire’s largest – when finished in 2010.

Lewis Group also has shopping centers in construction in Rancho Cucamonga, Apple Valley, Hesperia and Reno.