Published March 16, 2004
Volume 12, Number 3

Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors Help Builders Get Projects off the Ground
(Left to right) Barbara Rosenthal, Robert Davidson, John Medford, and
Laura Cochran make up the Hacienda WRI team.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

Funding a development project of any size can often be as time-consuming and challenging as the construction itself. Money must be raised—often from various sources—before the first foundation is laid or nail is driven. In addition to banks and other sources of funds, many developers turn to companies like Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors (WRI), which has been helping builders and developers raise capital for residential projects for more than 30 years.

Originally established in 1970 to diversify Weyerhaeuser Company's investment in its wholly owned development companies, WRI now provides equity investments as well as subordinated fixed rate and participating loans for developers beyond the spectrum of its own projects. WRI currently funds approximately 55 to 65 new deals a year and operates primarily in the Western United States and the greater Washington, D.C. area.

WRI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company (WRECO), which, in turn, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Weyerhaeuser Company, a well known international forest products organization with annual sales of $19.9 billion that employs about 57,000 people in 18 countries.

“What we do is provide loans to residential real estate developers,” says John Medford, investment manager at Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors’ Hacienda branch.. “If a developer goes into a bank and tries to borrow $10 million dollars and the bank will only loan them $7.5 million, he can come to us and we’ll loan him all or some portion of the remainder of the money. Essentially, we provide equity financing for home builders. We never provide 100% of the money for the development. We’re focused on the equity financing.”

WRI’s Hacienda location, at 5976 W. Las Positas Blvd., has five employees including Medford. The firm has been at the Park for over a decade. WRI participates in funding for developments both in an out of the East Bay and Tri-Valley area, with recent projects that involved equity financing in Hercules, Brentwood, San Leandro, San Ramon, Fairfield, and Oakland. WRI also does a substantial amount of business in Southern California.

Equity funding is not limited to larger development firms. In fact, WRI does more funding for smaller organizations. “We typically work with companies that are privately held because the larger, publicly traded companies typically have access to other capital. We really focus on the mid-sized companies and think we add a lot of value because of our history in the business and our ability to help these companies solve problems.”

Medford says the Pleasanton location is strategic to WRI’s business. While the Northern California office used to be based in San Mateo, the Tri-Valley location has worked out to be a better fit for a company involved in development. “This office is central to the Bay Area,” Medford says. “Our clients are in the North Bay and the South Bay and the 680 corridor—where a lot of the home building companies are located. It’s also convenient because you can jump on the freeway and get to other areas like Tracy that are very active from a residential development standpoint. We think Pleasanton is a central location for our industry.”


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