Brandywine Homes Brings Hernandez Aboard

January 6th, 2014





By Carrie Rossenfeld | Orange County | December 17, 2013

IRVINE, CA-Brandywine Homes has hired real estate veteran Alex G. Hernandez as SVP of land acquisition and project management. The move was part of an anticipated expansion for the firm over the next three years.

Hernandez was most recently SVP of acquisition & forward planning with the Olson Co. and has also worked as an executive with TELACU Development. He has more than 27 years of experience and will leverage his deep knowledge of the Southern California housing market and his extensive contacts in the industry to identify promising infill opportunities, supervise entitlement efforts and work on annual business plans as well as day-to-day strategy for the firm.

“Since 1994, Brandywine has established itself as a leader in the Southern California housing market,” says Hernandez. “I am excited for the opportunity to join forces with a seasoned management team with a focus on infill housing. Their range of products provides new housing opportunities to buyers from a broad spectrum of backgrounds.”

Hernandez has spent his entire career in real estate development and land planning. After spending the first decade of his career in local government as a city planner for major cities in Southern California, including Long Beach, Hermosa Beach and Los Alamitos, he parlayed his knowledge and skills to help developers find land and navigate the complex entitlement process that exists in this market.

“There are very few real estate professionals who are as accomplished as Alex at targeting the best infill properties in this challenging market and finding off-market deals,” says Brett Whitehead, Brandywine’s president. “Although we’ll be working closely together, this will allow me to focus on forecasting, build relationships with investors and analyze the financial aspects of growing the company over the next several years.”

As reported in October, Brandywine has begun construction on a single-family detached-home community in Garden Grove called Walden. The community will be built on nearly two acres and feature 18 homes with full driveways on 3,000-square-foot lots.

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Construction of townhouses near Nixon Library approved

January 6th, 2014





The City Council’s approval of 51 townhouses across Yorba Linda Boulevard from the Nixon Presidential Library & Museum marks the first success by a developer looking to build high-density housing on the city’s westside since voters approved Measures H and I.

The measures rezoned a number of properties in hopes that they would attract developers to build affordable housing. However, there will be no units for low-income and very low-income buyers in the townhouse community being built by Brandywine Homes. Jim Burke, one of the property’s trustees, said the limit of 10 units per acre on his property wouldn’t allow for denser, affordable housing is that typically built at 30 units per acre.

Burke said he was elated with the council’s decision, which was the culmination of his family’s 12-year effort to sell and develop the land.

“I’m just very excited that they saw the extra work that Brandywine has put into making this a great project for Yorba Linda,” Burke said.

The council’s decision was a defeat for many residents on Yorba Linda’s westside who want to maintain the semi-rural, equestrian character that brought them to the Land of Gracious Living.

Homeowner Rhonda Richards said feels she was conned into voting for Measure I based on the fact that properties such as the Brandywine townhouse site would be zoned at higher-densities for state-mandated affordable housing. Richards told the council they would negatively affect the equity in her home on Via Buena Vida if they allowed Brandywine to build.

“I just feel that they went with the builders,” Richards said. “I had higher hopes for the little City Council. I just wasted my time.”

Mayor Tom Lindsey and councilmen Craig Young and Gene Hernandez voted to approve Brandywine’s project.

Hernandez didn’t buy into the argument that the mostly vacant property was really rural since it borders Yorba Linda Boulevard and is visible from the Nixon Library.

“To me it’s a public embarrassment,” he said.

Young said the decision to approve the development was difficult because the voters had already decided to rezone the property.

“Government has grown too big,” he said. “I think for us to not approve what out voters have already approved would just put more government into the mix.”

With Councilman John Anderson absent, Councilman Mark Schwing was the lone concerned voice on the dais. Although he liked the project’s design, Schwing said he did not believe there was enough parking and that its single entrance and exit could be hazardous during a fire. He also opposes requirements from the state to provide affordable housing.

“They’re trying to make the county homogenous and I hate that,” he said. “I moved to Yorba Linda because it was semi-rural.”

Richard Elliot, a 42-year resident, said he enjoyed raising a family on Blair Drive, just south of Brandywine’s site, with two horses and four steer. He’s watched horses in his neighborhood disappear over the years.

“It was great,” he said. “Those times are over.”

After Brandywine is done with demolition and grading, it must spend about $1 million to improve a storm drain buried on the property, relocating water meters and extending the sewer line, said Brett Whitehead, president of Brandywine Homes. Brandywine will also put $150,000 into the city’s housing fund to help with the city’s affordable housing needs. The first houses will be available for sale late next year.

An artist rendering of the future Brandywine townhouses from Yorba Linda Boulevard and Eureka Avenue. Demolition of the existing buildings is expected to start in December.

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Will new building change the face of Claremont?

January 3rd, 2014

December 16, 2013

The recent sale of a large piece of surplus property in north Claremont to an Orange County home developer, coupled with progress in multiple housing tracts throughout the city of Claremont, has locals asking a pressing question: Is greater housing density changing the face of Claremont?

Undeveloped land across Claremont has grown scarcer in recent months as a multitude of development projects begin their long-anticipated moves forward. Six different developers are advancing with housing developments that are set to add approximately 694 new housing units to the City of Trees, only 114 of which are detached single-family homes, according to Brian Desatnik, director of community development.

The lack of new single-family homes has drawn concern from local realtors as the city moves forward with high-density complexes.

“We are flooding the city way too fast,” said local realtor Ryan Zimmerman. “It’s going to overcrowd the neighborhoods.” Read More >

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Movers & Shakers: Alex G. Hernandez

January 3rd, 2014

Alex G. Hernandez has joined Brandywine Homes as SVP of land acquisition and project management. With more than 27 years’ experience, Hernandez will leverage his Southern California housing market knowledge to identify promising infill opportunities, supervise entitlement efforts, work on annual business plans and day-to-day strategy.


December 12, 2013

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Claremont Unified approves surplus property sale to homebuilder

January 3rd, 2014

By Wes Woods, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, POSTED: 12/09/13

CLAREMONT >> The Claremont Unified School District made $18.88 million from the sale of an approximately 9.7-acre surplus property site recently.

The sale of the La Puerta property, at 2475 N. Forbes Ave., was approved at last month’s school board meeting after a public auction on Nov. 19.

Liz Jefferson, administrative assistant to district Superintendent James Elsasser, said the property was sold to the highest bidder, Brandywine Homes of Irvine.

The sale occurred after the district authorized the formation of a Surplus Property Advisory Committee to address the potential lease, sale or other use of district properties. The first property selected was a 2080 N. Mountain Avenue property on May 2011 which went to auction in February 2012 and closed escrow in June 2013. A site at 700 W. Base Line Road was sold in May 2013 and is currently in escrow with an estimated close date of May 2014. Read More >

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