1,000 home deal falls through

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 20, 2006

New Millenium contract dead from financing woes



LAPLACE – A deal that was to bring 1,000 new homes to St. John Parish has fallen through, due to apparent financing problems on the part of the buyer, L’Observateur has learned.

New Millenium Homes had signed a contract to buy 362 acres of land on Airline Highway, near East St. John High School, for a residential development that was to bring 1,000 homes to the area.

The deal was announced in late June, and was one of two big announcements on pending residential growth here.

The other was confirmation from KB Homes that they were in the process of buying land to build 2,000 homes on the eastern side of LaPlace.

But the New Millenium deal fell through, according to Daniel Becnel Jr., who owned 50 percent of the land.

&#8220He’s still searching for ways to get the money, but from what I heard, the real estate market fell through for him, and with the state not releasing money for homes, he hasn’t obtained enough pre-sold agreements to get the financing,” Becnel said.

The deal was reportedly near $10 million for the land, which was also owned by top local businessman Pat Sellars of LaPlace as the majority owner of the other 50 percent.

Becnel said the property is now back on the market and he already has another prospect to sell the land.

Don Jones of New Millenium did not return phone calls to comment on the story.

Becnel said that Jones still might come back and make a deal, should he obtain financing, but as far as he is concerned, the land is up for grabs now.

&#8220We know of another builder who has an option to buy the land right now, so somebody is going to get it,” he added. &#8220As for Mr. Jones, it doesn’t sound good for him to get it back again.”

The announcement of the New Millenium deal came during the summer when several stories reported by L’Observateur added up to area builders projecting as many as 4,000 new homes here in the next four years.

Along with top local builders Joey Scontrino of Landcraft, Ray Leach of Ray Leach Construction and Jimmie Gooden of Gooden Homes, who had the top three residential permit numbers in recent years,

there was another 1,000 homes expected just locally.

However local builders have agreed that the housing market has slowed to a crawl of late, due in part to the low response by the federal program to reimburse flooded homeowners from Hurricane Katrina.