DeNova Homes Seals $45M in Wells Fargo Loans for Sonoma County Resi Project


Wells Fargo has upped its debt in support of a multifamily development under construction in Petaluma, Calif. to $45 million, according to an announcement from the bank.

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DeNova Homes, a residential builder in the Bay Area, is the developer behind the project, known as Daybreak at Brody Ranch, which will feature 199 residential units. In September, Wells Fargo supplied the developer with a $22.6 million acquisition and development loan, debt it now augmented with an additional $22.4 million construction loan. That new financing carries a term of 24 months, according to Wells Fargo’s Christeen Mazza.

The development’s housing will be split among 61 single-family homes and nine condominium buildings comprising 138 apartments. Unit sizes on the 16-acre site will range from 650-square-foot one-bedroom apartments to 2,345-square-foot standalone houses.

Twenty-one of the dwellings—a set that will include one single-family home and 20 condo units—will be sold at below-market prices. A local non-profit organization, the Housing Land Trust of Sonoma County, will own the land under the affordable units and lease it to homeowners, ensuring that the units will be affordable for low-income residents for decades.

Sue Castellucci, Petaluma’s housing coordinator, said that the development will be a crucial boon to the local housing supply in the wake of wildfires that burned hundreds of thousands of acres north of the Bay Area last October.

“Even though the fires weren’t in Petaluma, a lot of people were displaced,” Castellucci said. “Our vacancy rate is like 1 percent. We know that there were people affected by the fires living here now.”

One of the fires, known as the Tubbs Fire, became the most destructive in California’s history, and in all, the month’s fires in the region caused almost $10 billion in insured damages. At least 40 people died, and the blazes destroyed 4,000 homes and damaged 10,000 more. In one Sonoma County city, Santa Rosa, about one-twentieth of the housing stock was destroyed.

“We’re doing what we can, but it’s going to take a village to get this thing back on its feet,” Castellucci said.

The residential project was under development before the fires broke out, but a Wells Fargo executive explained that the bank is pleased the project will support a suddenly needy housing market.

“The Brody Ranch development will bring much-needed housing—including below market rate units—to Sonoma County,” Bird Anderson, head of homebuilder banking in Wells Fargo’s commercial real estate group, said in a statement. “We are pleased to work with DeNova Homes to support the construction of these new homes.”

Representatives for DeNova Homes did not respond to an inquiry about the financing deal—M.G.