Scottsdale-based developer DMB works on big projects

The Arizona Republic |
February 18, 2012
Article by Catherine Reagor

Scottsdale-based DMB is spending a lot of time focusing on properties in a state next door to Arizona: California.

The developer has several master-planned projects in various stages across the state: in the Lake Tahoe area, the San Francisco Bay Area, central California and in Southern California’s Orange County.

In a state known for its regulations and attention to the environment, DMB is proving it can modify plans to work with neighbors, community groups and environmental interests to develop prime sites.

In January, DMB opened a Pacific division headquartered in San Francisco to be closer to its California projects, particularly the redevelopment of Cargill’s historic salt plant in Redwood City, near Silicon Valley. Eneas Kane is president of the new operation.

Although DMB is developing 150,000 acres of communities in the West and building communities on some of the highest-profile pieces of land in California, including the redevelopment of the Saltworks site in the Bay Area, it has maintained its low-key style.

“It feels like though the housing market hasn’t recovered yet, it has hit an inflection point,” Kane said. “We believe our greatest opportunities are in California right now.”

California’s housing market is much larger and more diverse. And some parts of the state, including the Bay Area and the Lake Tahoe area, haven’t suffered as much during this housing crash.

Evolving focus

“DMB” stands for the first names of its prominent Arizona founders. The D is for the company’s chairman and real-estate attorney, Drew Brown. The M is for Mark Sklar, whose family owned Mundus Travel. The B is for Campbell Soup heir Bennett Dorrance.

In 2010, the developer attracted some prominent investors, including Madrone Capital Partners, which includes Walmart heirs, and Argonaut Private Equity of Oklahoma.

Best known for its DC Ranch community in north Scottsdale, DMB formed after metro Phoenix’s last real-estate crash in the late 1980s investing in bargain commercial properties. But after DC Ranch, DMB’s business plan evolved to partnering with landowners and investors on large residential projects that can be built slowly and with plans constantly updated for changes in the economy and in homebuyers’ preferences.

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The Arizona Republic | azcentral.comFeb. 18, 2012Article by Catherine Reagor

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