Avimor Future Looks Bleak

We haven’t heard any specifics yet about the long suffering saga of Avimor, the “planned community” in northern Ada County along Highway 55, but a report in the Arizona Republic about the parent company doesn’t bode well for the subdivision’s future and lends authority to GROWOTHOPHOBE predictions.

The GUARDIAN previously posted a report in January saying only six homes MAY have been sold at AVIMOR. The story in the Arizona paper talks of Pinnacle West Capital Corp.–the parent–divesting itself of all SunCor residential projects. Logically this will include Avimor.

The developer got a law passed through the legislature allowing them to shift the burden of financing infrastructure to future property owners, but even that move apparently couldn’t save them from financial ruin. Like all the other failed land speculators, if they ultimately fail, blame will go to “economic conditions.”

We have seen other “houses of cards” collapse in the past year including Tamarack in Valley County and the Kastera Homes developer based in Meridian.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. Ain’t Karma a BEEEOOTCHHH??

  2. Mr. Guardian, you mean we won’t see to frutiion all the wonderful stuff on their sales brouchrues!

    Are you telling us growth of all the wonderful “high end” homes has come to halt? And everyone who wants more house than they can afford will be locked out of over-indulgence?

    I am shocked and dismayed. We as Americans should not stand for this! We have a birthright to over-indulgence and easy credit.

  3. “The developer got a law passed through the legislature allowing them to shift the burden of financing infrastructure to future property owners,………..”

    Please clarify the above, AZ legislature or ID legislature?

    EDITOR NOTE–Idaho legislature. Instead of paying for roads etc. they are able to create a “local improvement district” which adds taxes on each parcel for the duration of the bonds…to be disclosed at sale. Keeps developer from having to pay in advance.

  4. Add another failure to the list – the massive condos on Crescent Rim – now being mothballed. It was not just the econmy that did it – it was the arrogance of the developer that delayed him 3 years. Besides the fact that no one was (or ever will) pay $400 a square foot to look in your neighbors windows).

    Over and over we see the neighborhoods being right and the city and county growth-at-any-cost officials being dead wrong.

    As a tax payer I am sick of elected officials talking down to the voters when they are are the ones that are wrong. There many voters a lot smarter than those we elect and those we elect would be well served to listen them.

  5. I noticed on an Avimor website they advertise they are in Eagle. Excuse me, but they are five miles north/northeast of Eagle -obviously not in Eagle. I am not sure they are even in the Eagle Area of Impact. Why anyone would want to live more than a 10 mile round trip to get a quart of milk is beyond me. They advertise this “planned community” as if the grocery store, school and various businesses are already up and operating. I will be in my grave before any of this actually happens, if ever. Perhaps the Avimor people should recognize that the influx of people moving to Idaho is at a stop. Let that ground go back to the sheep or whatever was living there before the developers moved in.
    Eagle has so many new subdivisions that have three or four houses built and none in the pipeline – feel sorry for the people who bought the few new homes and are surrounded by weed filled lots.

  6. Golly, gee, ain’t this a shame! It’s really sad.
    (Insert big grin here.)

  7. Maybe the “growth-o-phobes” should be given a little credit periodically for being dead on accurate. We’re still the ones here paying taxes to keep the state running. Can you say the same for the mega developers? Maybe their checks just got lost in the mail…

  8. Just Deserts
    Apr 6, 2009, 12:34 pm

    Check out today’s Idaho Business Review. They say Avimor is for sale.

  9. John Mitchel
    Apr 6, 2009, 1:23 pm

    I’ve been a critic of Nevermor ever since the ITD caved (in 2007) on the requirement to put in an overpass (their recommendation to Avimor)–somehow they sleazed by with a turnout lane on a major state highway that is overly crowded during the weekends. It would be interesting to see how and why their recommendation was shelved. Hwy 55 certainly doesn’t need any more dangerous intersections. Although the two people killed up there (ran into the back of a water truck) were cited with “inattentive driving” that type of accident probably wouldn’t have happended with proper egress and ingress.

  10. At least they won’t have to worry about not having enough water. I wonder which fire department will race up there when a house catches on fire?

    EDITOR NOTE– Believe they annexed into the Eagle Rural District to get zoning approval. No station within 10 or 15 minutes, however.

  11. Seeing What SunCor Sees
    Apr 6, 2009, 3:20 pm

    Avimor’s parent company has substantial analytical skill, and a history of looking at the big picture. They made a lot of money in real estate, for a while. That they no longer think most real estate will be profitable for many months to come is significant.

    More importantly, by putting SunCor/Eagle on the block, while keeping some other properties in Arizona, is even more significant. It means that they think Idaho/Boise is one of the worst of the bad real estate markets.

    EDITOR NOTE–We don’t know if they actually have much to “put on the block.” We know Parent Pinnacle wants out of residential market, they have much more debt than assets according to public documents, and Avimor isn’t selling. McCloud family could have been smart enough to offer land with little else in the deal and retain ownership until it sells. We don’t know details of that private transaction.

  12. Seeing What SunCor Sees
    Apr 6, 2009, 4:44 pm


    The main thing the developer has to put on the block, is their entitlements, their “right” to develop the latter phases of the project. The fact that, according to the IBR, they intend to hold onto some of their entitlements in other places, but not their entitlements north of Boise, is the telling indicator. It tells me that they think that, even if the Boise market ultimately turns around, it will not be enough, soon enough, to get a return on their investment. By this action, they have decided to stop the bleeding, document and write-off the loss, and move on.

  13. Quite a bit of mis-information posted here that needs to be cleared up.

    First regarding the rear ended water truck – clear day, visiblity for miles, southbound vehicle rams into the rear of a water truck making a left into the Avimor construction entrance. Driver of the passanger car never hit the brakes. Why..what happened …nobody lived to tell so nobody will ever know. Yeah, bad timing, bad PR, unfortunate deaths – but let’s not crucify a developer over it…could have happened anywhere.

    Secondly regarding the selloff of SunCor residential assets. There is no difference between the sale of Avimor than there is any other SunCor residential community in AZ, NM or Utah. They have written them all down and are selling them all. There is no indication that the company is any less or more confident in the Boise market than they are in the Prescott AZ or Santa Fe NM markets. It’s a completete liquidation. The company is retaining its commercial holdings in AZ only – everything else goes.

    Lastly – in Avimor there is way way more for sale than just entitlements. How about $30M in infrastructure (sewer, power, water, gas) and another $20M or so in roads, lots, other improvements. This is a completed first phase of development ready to build in and sell. All it needs is….homebuyers, and therein lies the quandry. Future entitlements, yes those come with the deal as well and have value.

    Love the Guardian, but sometimes you folks shoot yourselves in the foot and lose credibility with uninformed postings.

    EDITOR NOTE–Antiphobe is a good solid source and we echo his cautionary note.

  14. Sorry, caution or not, I want to weigh in.

    My unanswered question to all this from the beginning — as a former Arizona Public Service customer — is: What the heck is a utility company doing in the land development business? It doesn’t seem like a healthy mix.

    Second, this was never a good development for Ada County — poor choice of land formations, uber sprawl and no services.

    I don’t think Avimor failed to do anything required by Ada County, but I do think Ada County should never have approved the project and if it did, it should have set a whole lot more requirements than it did. Avimor only wanted to build; Ada County was lax in protecting the wider citizenship.

  15. If we are drinking to misinformation, give Phobe a double.
    Apr 7, 2009, 7:51 am

    “First regarding the rear ended water truck – clear day, visiblity for miles, southbound vehicle rams into the rear of a water truck making a left into the Avimor construction entrance. Driver of the passanger car never hit the brakes.”

    That part is true.

    Also true is that Avimor had two sources of water, one on the east side of Hwy 55 where the construction was taking place, and one on the west side that required the water trucks to cross the highway. At the time of the accident, Avimor did not have an ITD approved access point for the water on the west side of the road. Long story short, if Avimor had not been operating in violation of ITD’s access permits, there would not have been a water truck stopped in the middle of Highway 55 for anyone to hit. Avimor may not deserve all the blame, but they deserve some.

  16. Anne – good questions. Some answers:
    1. The parent company for SunCor is indeed Arizona Public Service, the states largest utility provider. The reason they got into the real estate market is twofold. 1) The parent company held some excess land in AZ that had great deveolpment potential, 2) I believe (don’t quote me here) that the Public Utility Commission in AZ actaully promoted if not urged them (APS) to diversify their portolio. That was 20 years ago. Problem became that with the AZ real estate boom, the SunCor portfolio eventually expanded and became too successful and too big and had too much impact on the earnings of the mother ship. Then when the market tankd, APS now needs to rid themselves of the liability that SunCor creates.
    2. Ada County Commissioners pretty much laid as many requirements and restrictions on Avimor as they legally could – the hammered them pretty hard. Remember, the Commissoners can only restrict as far as legislation (Planned Community Ordinance) allows, else they risk being sued by the Developer. They laid some very expensive restrictions on Avimor – so many in fact that the approval process took years. By the time approval was granted and first phase developement complete, the market had tanked. Had the approvals been granted quicker would Avimor have gotten off the ground before the market turned, been moderately successful and not have had to be liquidated? Chicken and the egg…we’ll never know!

    I am not by any means standing up for Avimor, I think it was a poorly designed project in a marginal location. Interesting development/growth lesson(s) to be learned from their experiance.

  17. Again – untrue allegations regarding the unfortunate water truck incident. The truck was turning into the northern-most access to the site…a fully approved construction access. The south entrance (the main one now serving phase one residential area) at the time was not yet improved/completed, but that isn’t where the wreck occured. Admittedly the south/main entrance is a pitiful and woefully inadequate ingress/egress point…but let’s not bash it until a wreck occurs there. Which it will just a matter of time.

  18. Just Deserts
    Apr 7, 2009, 9:47 am

    $50 million spent so far. Wow. Assuming that anyone has the financial resources to acquire this P.C., does anyone think that there are not more lucrative ventures out there? If this P.C. can’t be sold, who is going to deal with decommissioning the sewage plant/homes/etc.?

    If we aren’t careful, we may learn something from all this.

  19. Clippityclop
    Apr 7, 2009, 10:46 am

    I hope the Ada County Commissioners have learned something from this. They lapped up every explanation/solution this developer offered for possible financial shortcomings associated with this project, including the Highway 55 Developer Consortium for funding improvements to SH 55. I guess that’s officially dead now that Kastera is TU as well as Avimor. And I don’t hold out much hope for Dry Creek Ranch to solve this, now that the big boys are pulling up pegs. I hate to say it Commissioners, but you’ve been made to look like fools and its not like the public didn’t warn you again and again in the hearing process. Have you learned nothing? You need to require appropriate bonding BEFORE entitlements are granted or you’ll create this every time! What an eyesore on SH 55 — if you think somebody’s going to jump in and buy this mess, think again. Shame on you. You haven’t served the public at all.

  20. Buy Phobe a triple.
    Apr 7, 2009, 11:02 am

    Phobe, try to get it right. It was the access to the well on the west side of the highway that was not permitted, not the north entrance to the construction site. So, again, if Avimor had been getting water on the east side of the road, consistent with then existing access permits, there would not have been a water truck stopped in the middle of the road for anyone to hit. Avimor was operating in violation of their then existing development permits and to that end deserves some of the blame.

    As for you statement about how hard Ada County pressured the developer, that is subjective at best.

    For a couple of years the planner in charge of the Avimor application was a person named Carla Olson. For my money she is a very conscientious person. She was a credit to development services. It was her conclusion that the application failed to meet code and she recommended denying the application.

    Then, at about the point of the P&Z hearing, for unknown reasons, she was pulled off the case and replaced by the infamous Mark Pechenninno (Avid promoter of planned communities, tried to write his personal services into the biannual development reviews of some applications, ultimately fired for conflict of interest violation(s?). Suddenly, with no change in the application, Staff’s recommendation changed from Deny, to Approve! Even Bob Taunton, Avimor’s then spokesperson, commented in one of the hearings that Avimor’s life had gotten much easier after Mark P came was assigned to the case. To you, that may look like holding Avimor’s feet to the fire. To me it looked more like capitulation and betrayal of the public trust.

  21. Agree that how hard developers including SunCor were pressed by the Commissioners is subjective. But it wasn’t the slam dunk that the general population thinks it was.

    Bottom line – the project was approved and there it sits. Slamming it doesn’t make it go away. Assuming it sells and it probably will (after being written down well below the $50M invested) slamming the next investor that buys it won’t help either. Love it or hate it, all of us need it to ultimately succeed or we’ll be left holding the bag paying for it – via property tax and utilities that will subsidize the failure. I’m done posting on this topic.

    Let’s all refocus our energy to the Meals on Wheels dilemma and find a much needed solution to a real serious problem.

  22. I look forward to seeing what will happen to Tamarack. Read somewhere that a similar failed project in Colorado was burned down and the property reverted to a natural habitat. Don’t know who got money for it. Guess the same could happen to Avimor. Who would be dumb enough to buy there? Probably people who were convinced there was money to be made. Realtors and blood sucking loan brokers kept the market running long after all sense had left.

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