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Brian Paul, CEO, elacora; Lee Arsenault, New Leaf Homes, exclusive general contractor for elacora Northeast Florida; and Victoria Robbins, Victoria Robbins Realty, exclusive agent for elacora Northeast Florida.
Jax Daily Record Thursday, Sep. 4, 201412:00 PM EST

New homebuilder reunites Old San Jose on the River team

by: Carole Hawkins

The team that took over and built the Old San Jose on the River condominiums has returned, this time to produce single-family homes.

Real Capital Solutions, the Colorado-based private equity investor that financed Old San Jose on the River, has launched elacora, a nationwide affiliate that will focus on homebuilding.

Elacora has partnered with Victoria Robbins of Victoria Robbins Realty and Lee Arsenault of New Leaf Homes to serve as the company’s exclusive agent and general contractor In Northeast Florida.

Real Capital launched elacora to meet the demand that is coming back to the homebuilding industry, CEO Brian Paul said.

“The challenge is capital is extremely tight, so it’s difficult for small to medium-sized builders to get back in business and participate,” Paul said. “That’s where we come in.”

Real Capital’s assets exceed $1 billion. Through elacora, the company is launching homebuilding in California, Denver and Northeast Florida, with plans to expand into Phoenix, Austin, Northern California and Southwest Florida.

In Northeast Florida, elacora will build 100 Mediterranean-style homes starting in the mid-$200,000s at Madeira in St. Augustine, and 24 single-family homes starting in the $600,000s at The Plantation in Ponte Vedra Beach.

Homes in both communities will include 2-by-6 construction, concrete tile roofs, and a starter solar package.

“What we do differently is, we give our customers a great value with features they don’t expect,” said Robbins. “They don’t expect to get 2-by-6 construction or concrete tile on a home priced at $250,000.”

Robbins, Paul and Arsenault worked together on Old San Jose by the River, a riverfront community near San Marco.

Real Capital purchased the bank note for the troubled asset in 2010 and the team successfully repositioned the property as low-density luxury condominiums.

Robbins and Arsenault worked as contractors on that project. Now, they join elacora as long-term partners for all of the company’s projects in Northeast Florida.

It’s a business model elacora is using nationwide.

“There are experienced professionals like Lee and Vikki all over the country who got displaced during the downturn,” Paul said. “Through our earlier projects, we realized we had really good expertise on the ground level and we should build a business around them.”

Elacora’s approach of partnering a national real estate investment firm with a local talent will create a competitive product customized for each location, Robbins said.

“The national builders roll out floor plans of models that have worked for them in other markets, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they work here,” Robbins said.

By contrast, elacora used local architects to design its homes for Madeira and The Plantation, she said.

At Madeira, elacora has completed two models and begun construction on the community’s clubhouse.

At The Plantation, floor plans are now under architectural review and construction of a show home is expected this year.

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