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Builder runs out of funds for project

Irvine-based builder SunCal Cos. on Thursday pulled the plug -- at least temporarily -- on a housing development planned in rural Northern California called Bickford Ranch.

The 2,000-home project in the Sierra foothills of Placer County was to be funded by Wall Street investment banker Lehman Bros. Holdings Inc., which collapsed in September.

SunCal Bickford Ranch filed for protection under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy regulations. The filing does not apply to SunCal itself.

The failure of Lehman Bros. “has created a situation that stands in the way of any new capital coming into the project,” said David Soyka, a SunCal spokesman. “Without additional funds, we cannot complete infrastructure elements, implement storm water control measures, care for seedlings and generally maintain the property.”

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The Chapter 11 filing will permit another lender to come into the project at some point in the future, Soyka said.

No houses have been built at Bickford Ranch so far. As planned, the community would also have a golf course, shopping center and parks.

-- Roger Vincent


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