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Pardee Homes, a force in Las Vegas home construction, has a new owner

A local home-building institution will soon have a new owner.

Tri Pointe Homes of Irvine, Calif., is buying Pardee Homes as part of a multibillion-dollar builder buying binge set to close in the first half of 2014.

Tri Pointe will shell out $2.7 billion for the portfolio of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co., the home-building subsidiary of the forest product and real estate investment trust WeyerHaeuser Co. Pardee comes with the deal, along with four other builders: Trendmaker Homes in Texas; Maracay Homes in Arizona; Winchester Homes in Washington, D.C.; and Quadrant Homes in Washington state’s Puget Sound region.

In Pardee, Tri Pointe lands what’s almost certainly Southern Nevada’s first large-scale builder of residential subdivisions, and definitely its longest-lived. Pardee is headquartered in California, but in many ways, it’s become the Las Vegas Valley’s hometown builder, spending decades among the top 10 in closings and rolling out master-planned communities that changed the region’s residential fabric.

Mused Dennis Smith, president and CEO of local analysis firm Home Builders Research: “Who was here before Pardee?”

Local Pardee officials declined to comment before the sale closes, and Tri Pointe executives didn’t respond to an e-mail requesting an interview. But Tri Pointe released a statement that said its mission is “to be a next-generation homebuilder, and this transaction uniquely positions us to build on our established momentum, expand our footprint and capitalize on new growth opportunities.”

The company also said the deal will make Tri Pointe one of the country’s 10 biggest builders in market value when it closes in the second quarter of 2014.

But Pardee has long been a big presence in Las Vegas.

The company began building locally in 1952, right around the time the Sahara opened, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority started and the city got its first TV station in KLAS. Las Vegas had just under 45,000 residents when Pardee arrived.

The company flung itself headlong into shaping the growing city, Smith said. Along with American Nevada Corp.’s Green Valley in Henderson, Pardee’s Spring Valley development in southwest Las Vegas introduced upscale planned living to Southern Nevada in the 1970s. Pardee was also the first big builder to take a chance on North Las Vegas, unveiling its Eldorado master plan in the early 1990s. In the 2000s, Pardee went all-in with green building, embracing ecofriendly construction with its LivingSmart branding. Notable locals ranging from former Nevada Gov. Bob Miller to Henderson City Councilwoman Debra March have waxed rhapsodic in the pages of the Review-Journal about Pardee’s meaning to the region.

In all, Pardee has built more than 40,000 homes in 150 Las Vegas neighborhoods.

“Pardee is one of the pioneers,” Smith said. “They gave North Las Vegas a sense of identity and legitimacy that wasn’t there at the time. Once they got there, other builders followed. They’re also synonymous with Spring Valley. And they brought green living and energy efficiency into their homes more so than most of the other public builders for sure.”

Like the rest of the market, Pardee struggled in the downturn, with local sales that had peaked at 1,500 closings in 2007 plummeting to 200 in 2010. But the company is bouncing back. It sold more than 250 units in 2012, and expects better-still sales in 2013. Now, along with KB Home, Beazer Homes and Toll Bros., Pardee is ready to restart Henderson’s once-bankrupt Inspirada master plan.

Nat Hodgson, executive director of the Southern Nevada Home Builders Association, called Pardee “a solid public builder that has really felt like a private Nevada builder.”

“They’ve been here so long. They have a good reputation, and a good name in our state,” Hodgson said.

Smith said he wasn’t surprised at Pardee’s sale. The company has been off and on the market for about a decade, he said. Its profitability and land holdings would appeal to any buyer, he added.

How much Vegas flavor Pardee keeps remains to be seen. Tri Pointe’s statement said there would be no immediate changes to operations of its new builder brands.

“Tri Pointe intends to provide the necessary resources to support (Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Co.’s) employees and the continued growth of each brand,” the company said.

It’s hard to say now how Pardee’s presence might evolve in the local market, but experts said if they know what’s best for continued success, Tri Pointe executives won’t modify much.

“If they were to change anything going forward, I would hate to see it. It’d be a shame,” Smith said. “They’ve established a name recognition for themselves that some builders never achieve.”

Added Hodgson: “If they’re smart, they’re not going to really play with anything, because it’s working here.”

Contact reporter Jennifer Robison at jrobison@reviewjournal.com. Follow @J_Robison1 on Twitter.

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