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Posts Tagged ‘Hometown America’

Drama, Take Three – MHC Infighting Over Potential Sale

April 20th, 2017 Comments off
MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditZillowBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A home in Briarcrest Estates. Credit: Zillow.

In the ongoing saga of Laconia, New Hampshire – based Briarcrest Estates, both the tempers, and stakes, are higher than ever.

According to the Laconia Daily Sun, Briarcrest co-op board members Joe McCarthy, Don Vachon and John Drouin have resigned from the six-member board, after they came under fire over a proposal to sell the community to Hometown America Corporation.

A special meeting has been called for April 24 to fill the vacancies, and another meeting has been set for May 20 to consider selling the community.

As the Daily Business News covered here, the Briarcrest story dates back to July 2013, when community owners Mark and Ruth Mooney tentatively agreed to sell the Briarcrest Estates to Hometown America for $10 million. In compliance with state law, the terms of the transaction were disclosed to the tenants, who had 60 days to make a counteroffer by presenting a purchase-and-sales agreement. The law requires the community owner to bargain in good faith with the residents or their organization.

Residents of Briarcrest Estates then formed The Lakemont Cooperative Inc. and, with assistance from ROC-USA and the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, matched the offer from Hometown America Corporation.

After initial resistance, Mark and Ruth Mooney agreed to sell the 183 acre, 241 home site community to the cooperative, which has owned and managed it since April 2014.

EditorialResidentOpposesSaletoHometownAmericacreditGoogle-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Google.

Fast forward to January 2017, when things changed. That change came in the form of a offer to buy Briarcrest Estates.

It was from Hometown America.

It’s an unsolicited offer, period. A fire-from-the hip” proposal, said Vachon at the time.

The Hometown America deal reportedly included retiring the outstanding balances on a $8 million loan from TD Bank and $2 million loan from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund as well as covering the prepayment penalty of $873,000 on the bank loan, closing costs and real estate transfer taxes associated with the transaction.

For some residents, the timing was “convenient.”

Although the board has claimed the offer was not solicited, the letter from Hometown America Corporation outlining its terms begins ‘per our discussions,’ indicating that board members have been communicating with Hometown America for some time,” said Katherine Carlson, who also was among the first officers of the cooperative.

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Briarcrest Estates.

Residents in the community say that it has become a neighbor-versus-neighbor battle, with one faction wanting to sell the community, and the other wanting it to remain a cooperative.

It’s just been ridiculous,” said McCarthy’s wife, Carrie, who said her husband and the other board members were unfairly targeted for suggesting cooperative members consider an unsolicited purchase offer.

There are a small number of people in this park [sic] who are so toxic,” said McCarthy.

All they are trying to do is stop the vote. It’s not all wonderful here in the co-op. People fight and argue. It’s like something you’d see on TV.”

Resident Louise Rosand, who is in favor of remaining a co-op, says that the ability to avoid rent hikes and keep control of the community are both critical. She also feels that the three board members who resigned were not completely honest about the situation with Hometown America.

They went behind our backs,” Rosand said. “There is no financial reason to sell. We are in good standing. We have extra money to put away. The bank loves us. The park has been running smoothly.

It’s kind of like a group against group. Your neighbor could be for or against. I live in a little section where there are four of us who are not for the sale, but if you go down the street you may find somebody who is for the sale. But you don’t go in your backyard and yell. You wave at everybody who goes by.”

 

ROC USA Commentary

An unrelated ROC USA community. Credit: ROC USA.

The ROC-NH program of the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund has helped convert nearly all of that state’s resident-owned communities, now numbering over a hundred. ROC-NH Director Tara Reardon told MHProNews it often takes time for a new cooperative to develop leaders and grow into what will become that community’s personality.

We’re confident that, if the process is transparent, the residents at Briarcrest will make the right decision for their neighbors’ and their own futures,” said Reardon.

Mike_Bullard_Marketing_and_Communications_Mgr_at_ROC_USA

Mike Bullard. Credit: Linkedin.

ROC Members are empowered to make decisions for themselves and their communities. Democracy, as they say, isn’t always pretty, I think we can agree in the wake of last year’s elections, that’s a fact,” said Mike Bullard, ROC USA Communications and Marketing Manager, in an email to MHProNews.

But making a tough decision, or even a bad decision is better than having no choice at all.” ##

 

(Image credits are as shown above, and when provided by third parties, are shared under fair use guidelines.)

 

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RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Hometown America Trying to Buy Resident Owned Community, Rift Results

February 3rd, 2017 Comments off
MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditZillowBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

A home in Briarcrest Estates. Credit: Zillow.

In Laconia, New Hampshire, the Lakemont Cooperative-owned Briarcrest Estates manufactured home community is in a unique position.

According to the Laconia Daily Sun, the story dates back to July 2013, when community owners Mark and Ruth Mooney tentatively agreed to sell the Briarcrest Estates to Hometown America for $10 million.

In compliance with state law, the terms of the transaction were disclosed to the tenants, who had 60 days to make a counteroffer by presenting a purchase-and-sales agreement. The law requires the community owner to bargain in good faith with the residents or their organization.

Residents of Briarcrest Estates then formed The Lakemont Cooperative Inc. and, with assistance from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund, matched the offer from Hometown America Corporation.

After initial resistance, Mark and Ruth Mooney agreed to sell the 183 acre, 241 home site community to the cooperative, which has owned and managed it since April 2014.

According to the cooperative President Don Vachon, the community is on solid financial footing, which has been verified by several other residents familiar with the finances of the organization.

Others residents acknowledged that some capital improvements would need to be undertaken in the near future.

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditBriarcrestEstates-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Briarcrest Estates.

Fast forward to January 17th of this year, when Doug Minahan of Hometown America Corporation wrote a letter to Vachon.

It was an offer to buy Briarcrest Estates.

Doug Minahan. Credit: LinkedIn.

The Hometown America offer included retiring the outstanding balances on a $8 million loan from TD Bank and $2 million loan from the New Hampshire Community Loan Fund as well as covering the prepayment penalty of $873,000 on the bank loan, closing costs and real estate transfer taxes associated with the transaction.

The company also pledged to honor all current leases, which provide that rent increases are limited to the rise in property taxes and inflation rate, along with any special assessment levied to fund improvements in the park, and offered to invest $350,000 in improvement to the park in the first year of its ownership.

It’s an unsolicited offer, period. A fire-from-the hip proposal,” said Vachon.

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditTrademarkia-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Trademarkia.

But, according to some residents, the offer has strange timing. And has caused a rift.

Although the board has claimed the offer was not solicited, the letter from Hometown America Corporation outlining its terms begins ‘per our discussions,’ indicating that board members have been communicating with Hometown America for some time,” said Katherine Carlson, who also was among the first officers of the cooperative.

Per the Laconia Daily Sun, when the offer was disclosed to residents at a meeting last weekend, they agreed by a show of hands to meet with representatives of Hometown America late in April, after residents spending the colder months in warmer climes have returned for the summer.

MHCWeighsAcquisitionOfferUnderStrangeCircumstancescreditBriarcrestEstates2-postedtothedailybusinessnewsmhpronewsmhlivingnews

Credit: Briarcrest Estates.

On Monday, the directors of the Lakemont Cooperative then informed its members that what they called an “informational meeting” with the regional director of Hometown America will be held on February 25th, and a special meeting of the membership has been scheduled on April 8, when members will be asked to vote whether to accept or reject the offer.

And this movement concerns another original director of the cooperative.

The board has all of a sudden accelerated the time frame without any explanation,” said Orry Gibbs.

Many residents will not have returned from their winter residences by early April, and there is concern at the prospect that a vote could be taken before a significant number of residents would have an opportunity to become informed about the offer, take part in the discussion and perhaps even cast their vote. We have been no reason for the rush to a decision.

Founded in 1997, Hometown America is a privately held company that owns and operates manufactured housing communities across the country. Today, the company operates more than 45 communities in ten states.

The Daily Business News will continue to monitor this story. ##

(Image credits are as shown above.)

rcwilliams-writer75x75manufacturedhousingindustrymhpronews

RC Williams, for Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Submitted by RC Williams to the Daily Business News for MHProNews.

Will Hometown America and Gateway ally to Increase Manufactured Home Community Holdings?

August 23rd, 2016 Comments off

GatewayLifestylesHometownAmerica-Logos-postedMHProNews-Gateway Lifestyle, an Australian-based holder of factory-built retirement home communities, is exploring partnering with U.S.-based Hometown America in a venture that could reshape Australia’s emerging manufactured housing market.  The two firms may join forces for the pursuit of National Lifestyle Villages (NLV), Western Australia’s largest operator of ‘mobile home parks.’

As reported by The Australian, sources speculate the deal would entail Gateway acquiring NLV’s land holdings and project pipeline, while Hometown would obtain the company’s passive investment income stream – currently held by Blackstone, a U.S. private equity giant.

Blackstone has entertained a possible sell of their portfolio stake for a rumored $225 million, although official comment from their spokesperson described their status as not “actively seeking.”

The report underscores the reality of the increasingly international nature of the manufactured housing industry.  The big, recent Singapore-based GIC investment in Yes! Communities, or the Trump interests in Revolution modulars are other examples.

In comparison to the more mature MH industry in the U.S., Australia’s market is considered to be in its infancy stage.

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Graphic credits, Australian.

Hometown, which dedicated MHProNews domestic readers know is a larger MH Community operator, is said to be working to get Blackstone’s stake in NLV.  The Australian’s sources stated that “Gateway has considered acquiring NLV’s land bank and sizeable development pipeline, as part of a partnership with Hometown that would see the US company snapping up Blackstone’s passive investment in the portfolio’s income stream.”

U.S. powerhouse, Equity LifeStyle Properties (ELS), was also mentioned in their report – ELS is among the stocks tracked in the Daily Business News market report.

John Wood, founder and minority owner of NLV — says the land and development pipeline are 90 percent controlled by Navis Capital, a Malaysian-based private equity firm.  Wood likewise said he “has no plans to sell.”

MHProNews  has tracked the emerging Australian MH market, including the two stories linked below.

(Image/logo credits at top are the property of each respective operation.)

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Frank Griffin, Daily Business News, MHProNews.

Article submitted by Frank Griffin for Daily Business News – MHProNews.

Manufactured Home Community Residents Support Cancer Reseach

February 25th, 2014 Comments off

MHProNews.com has learned from newssun.com that residents of Tanglewood manufactured housing community in Sebring, Florida were instrumental in raising $65,100 during 17 events for cancer research as part of the Tanglewood Residents’ Cancer Benefit. The Feb. 18 Benefit Bash was held in Tanglewood’s clubhouse, sponsored in part by community owner Hometown America, which also donated one of the major prizes. The charity has raised $495,000 during the benefit’s 15-year history. ##

(Photo credit: Hometown America–Tanglewood manufactured housing community, Sebring, Fla.)

Is Demand for Land Lease Communities Heating Up?

October 15th, 2013 Comments off

Private equity firm Carlyle Group LP has entered the manufactured housing community (MHC) business in acquiring two communities in Florida from Shamrock Holdings LLC of Arizona for $30.8 million. While this is the company’s first foray into the MH industry, analysts say investors are betting this aspect of the housing market will expand as an affordable dwelling for seniors, especially as alternatives become too expensive. Village of Ponce de Leon in Melbourne Beach and Sun Valley Estates in Tarpon Springs, both cater to those 55 and older. As wsj.com reports, communities geared toward retirees were 92 percent full in October, according to research firm JLT & Associates. Occupancy is 89 percent at Sun Valley and 82 percent at Ponce de Leon, MHProNews has learned. As demand rises, prices per homesites rise: Hometown America recently paid $121,000 per site for a community in Arizona, the highest ever paid in the state, according to Evan C. Barry of Marcus & Millichap. UMH Properties’ CEO Sam Landy says he expects to pay $40,000 per homesite this year, an increase from $26,000 just two years ago.

(Photo credit: thinkstock–manufactured housing community)

Manufactured Housing Community Receives HFF Financing

October 2nd, 2013 Comments off

MHProNews has learned provider of commercial real estate and capital market services HFF (Holliday Fenoglio Fowler) has arranged $52 million in financing for Audubon Estates in Alexandria, Virginia. Working on behalf of Hometown America, HFF secured a ten-year, fixed-rate loan through a life insurance company. The 701-home site, all-ages manufactured housing community (MHC) is 99.9 percent occupied and located just south of Washington, D. C. According to multihousingnews.com, amenities include 11 playgrounds, sports courts, picnic areas and RV and boat storage. Doug Minahan, vice president of Hometown America, says, “We were pleased with how competitive the quotes were that we received through HFF’s efforts. This is a clear indication that lenders are bullish on high-quality manufactured housing communities located in desirable markets.”

(Photo credit: multihousingnews.com–Audubon Estates)

Equity LifeStyle Properties Wheels and Deals

August 2nd, 2013 Comments off

Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Properties, Inc. (NYSE:ELS) reports the company finalized selling ten manufactured home communities comprised of 4,925 home sites. Received as part of the $1.5 billion Hometown America acquisition in 2011, the properties did not fit the core business strategy of ELS, and overall occupancy only reached 70 percent. Another manufactured housing community (MHC) with 419 home sites in Michigan is expected to close in this quarter, which would bring $165 million for all eleven communities into the company’s coffers,$41 million of it a gain. Additionally, fortmilltimes says the company acquired three MHCs in the Chicago metro area with 1,207 home sites for $102 million. ELS CEO Marguerite Nader says, “We are pleased with the execution on these transactions. We were able to redeploy capital from our sale of assets in non-core markets into three high quality manufactured home communities in the Chicagoland area to complement our existing assets in this market.” MHProNews knows ELS is the largest owner of manufactured home and recreational vehicle communities in North America.

(Photo credit: Equity LifeStyle Properties–country club in California)

1,800 Home Sites Change Hands

July 19th, 2012 Comments off

MarketWatch says commercial real estate firm Walker and Dunlop, Inc. provided $67,680,000 in Fannie Mae financing to Hometown America, LLC for five manufactured housing communities comprised of over 1,800 home sites located in Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida and New Jersey. The age-restricted communities cover over 500 acres. Walker and Dunlop specializes in multifamily lending. MHProNews has learned Hometown America, based in Chicago, is a privately held company that owns and operates over 120 MHCs in 20 states.

(Photo credit: Hometown America)

1,800 Home Sites Change Hands

July 19th, 2012 Comments off

MarketWatch says commercial real estate firm Walker and Dunlop, Inc. provided $67,680,000 in Fannie Mae financing to Hometown America, LLC for five manufactured housing communities comprised of over 1,800 home sites located in Illinois, Massachusetts, Florida and New Jersey. The age-restricted communities cover over 500 acres. Walker and Dunlop specializes in multifamily lending. MHProNews has learned Hometown America, based in Chicago, is a privately held company that owns and operates over 120 MHCs in 20 states.

(Photo credit: Hometown America LLC)

Court Rules in MHC Owner’s Favor

July 3rd, 2012 Comments off

DaytonaBizLaw reports the Fourth District Court of Appeals in Florida, in the case of Hanrahan vs. Hometown America, LLC, involving a property owner’s responsibility to protect a tenant from insects, ruled in favor of Hometown America. A resident was attacked by a swarm of red ants that evidently led to his death a few days later. MHProNews.com has learned the court’s ruling was based upon the idea of “ferae natura,” a common law doctrine which means “animals of a wild nature or disposition.” Florida law says a land owner is not required to protect an invitee from wild animals (or, in this case, wild insects) unless said landlord is harboring or possessing “ferae natura,” or has brought wild animals to his property that are not indigenous to the locale.

(Photo credit: PhotographersDirect)