A Newport Beach, Calif.-based company, WL Homes LLC, parent company of John Laing Homes, purchased Colorado Springs-based builder, Estate Homes LLC. The recent acquisition increases the number of John Laing Homes’ divisions to nine nationwide and two in Colorado. The other Colorado division is located in Denver.

Estate Homes pulled 75 permits in El Paso County in 2000 and closed on about 50 homes.

Ron Convington, founder and owner of Estate Homes, will become the new division’s president, and will report to Richard Staky, regional president for John Laing Homes.

When Covington was introduced to Staky and John Laing Homes, he liked the company’s commitment to customer service, quality homes and unique neighborhoods. “It was a chance for us to expand and be a part of a great corporate culture,” he said.

The new division’s initial residential communities in Colorado Springs include Hibbard Trails at Heritage, located in Fountain; Claremont Ranch in El Paso County; and Pastimes inMonument. Three additional communities are expected to begin construction by the end of 2001. John Laing Homes predicts that the new Springs division will close 100 homes this year, while turning a profit.

New hotel on Academy

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A groundbreaking was held last week at 6450 N. Academy Blvd. for a new Candlewood Suites Hotel franchise. The hotel chain is based in Wichita, Kan. New franchise owner Jannie Richardson, owner of Sunshine Management, 1959 West Uintah St., estimates the total cost on the 3.9-acre site to be about $5 million.

The Candlewood franchise will be the third in Colorado; two are in Denver. The 63,587-square-foot hotel will house 122 suites and cater to corporate clients.

Sunshine Management will oversee the building project. Sunshine’s own crew will frame the new building, and other aspects of the project will be subcontracted out to local companies. Peak Concrete is responsible for the concrete work, and Frontier Mechanical has been contracted for interior plumbing. Allen Richardson, property manager for Sunshine Management, said that other subcontractors would be hired for the remaining work. Building completion is tentatively scheduled for September 2001.

Century 21 opens new office

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held today to celebrate the new Century 21 Dinkel & Associates II LLC office at 5334 Montebello Lane.

Century 21 Dinkel & Associates has two other locations in Colorado — in Denver and Fort Lupton. Owners of the real estate company are Nolen and Denise Burt. The owners have been serving the Denver market for 25 years, and the strong Springs market prompted the move to Southern Colorado. A total of 10 employees, including brokers, have joined this branch.

McGinnis/GMAC connects with HOME-LINK

HOME-LINK is a company that partners with real estate brokers throughout the country to provide national products and service via the Internet to homeowners and homebuyers. Individuals can become HOME-LINK members for free by connecting with a HOME-LINK broker in their city or town.

Charlie Brown, president of McGinnis/GMAC Real Estate in Colorado Springs, said he saw this as a one-stop shopping opportunity for McGinnis customers. It could also be an attractive marketing tool to attract and retain customers.

The association with HOME-LINK will allow homeowners discounts on appliances, furniture, remodeling projects, mortgages, credit cards, insurance and any home-related or personal service.

HOME-LINK also alerts members to warranty expiration deadlines, maintenance schedules and upcoming anniversaries or birthdays. HOME-LINK can also store homeownership records, documents, mortgage information, tax records, etc.

Brown says that consumers will get more “bang for their buck” with this membership. Buyers and sellers working with McGinnis/GMAC real estate agents can recoup a portion of the costs they pay out during real estate transactions through their membership with HOME-LINK. Brown estimates that savings for a HOME-LINK member who purchased, for example, a $250,000 home, will total at least 2 percent and maybe 3 percent, amounting to $5,000 to $7,500.

Sales and leases

NAI Highland Commercial Group LLC has been busy selling and leasing. Jim Spittler, a broker with NAI Highland, sold 43,579 square feet of land at the northwest corner of Powers Boulevard and Palmer Park Boulevard (the Crossing at Palmer Park) to Auto Zone, a retail auto-parts store. The previous landowner was Bishop Powers LTD. The land was sold for $440,000, and Auto Zone will construct a 7,234-square-foot building on the site to expand its operations in the Colorado Springs market. Auto Zone will join Vectra Bank, Taco Bell, Diamond Shamrock and Tire World at the Crossing at Palmer Park.

Gary Bradley of NAI Highland Commercial Group, LLC, leased 3,819 square feet of space for expansion purposes to Education America Inc., currently located at 6050 Aaron Park Drive. Education America subleased the space at 6025 Lehman Drive, Suite 205, from Penrose-St. Francis, which recently closed its rehabilitation office at that location.

And, Hospital Shared Services Inc., a custom printing company for the medical-care industry, leased 7,200 square feet of space at 890 Elkton Drive at the Garden Tech Center in Colorado Springs. The Garden Tech Center is a multi-tenant industrial building that is now fully occupied. Hospital Shared Services is expanding its Denver operations to Colorado Springs. There are currently 70 people in the Denver office and, for the present time, those employees will take turns staffing the new office.

John Onstott and Gary Bradley, NAI Highlands Commercial Group, represented the new tenant, and Jim Justus, Olive Real Estate, handled the transaction for the landlord.