Giant Foresthill timber parcel going on auction block for $9.6M

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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AUBURN CA - A vast tract of timber near Foresthill is up for auction, with a minimum asking price of $9.6 million. The 4,838-acre ?Greengold? Foresthill timber tract is being sold by Portland?s Realty Marketing/Northwest. The firm is not only describing the parcel in a sales catalog as a well-stocked tree farm but also a good investment opportunity because of its proximity to Forest Ranch. In a telephone interview from his Portland office, Realty Marketing/Northwest President John Rosenthal emphasized the land?s potential for timber production. It has more than 54.5 million board feet of mature conifer timber onsite. And the forest is projected to be growing at a rate of 3.3 percent a year, he said. ?Trees are great tenants,? Rosenthal said, with a laugh. ?They keep growing and they don?t leave.? With the Sierra Pacific lumber mill in Lincoln relatively close by and access nearby to Interstate 80, the land can be logged yearly for income under a timber plan that would have to obtained by the new owner. Or it could serve as an investment for potential future sale, he said. ?It?s a good investment for a number of people, either in the lumber business or investors,? Rosenthal said. ?It fits a particular client and there is near-term cash flow from the timber harvest.? While the catalog emphasizes the 2,200-unit Forest Ranch proposal as a neighboring site, it does add that entitlements have yet to be obtained. Rosenthal said that if the Forest Ranch project does move forward, the property could potentially benefit by an increase in property values. The Forest Ranch proposal was stalled four years ago after Placer County supervisors voted to keep the expanded footprint ? 2,213 homes compared with approvals already in hand for 533 ? out of the Foresthill Community Plan. That effectively meant Forest Ranch developers would have to create a separate specific plan on still-unresolved traffic circulation, water and land-use issues. Sherry Wicks, a founding member of Foresthill Residents for Responsible Growth ? a group that successfully lobbied for a closer look at ramifications of the project ? said Wednesday that she had heard about the auction of the Greengold tract but had wondered about the pricing. ?I wish them luck in getting $9.6 million,? Wicks said. ?That?s about all I can say in this market.? Rosenthal said that all properties his firm sells have published reserve prices established by the seller. Owner of the Foresthill land is TimberVest, an Atlanta, Ga. investment organization that buys for clients that include pension organizations. TimberVest considered the Foresthill property no longer a core part of their holdings, he added. The $9.6 million minimum price provides a transparent bidding opportunity for buyers by giving them a starting bid target, Rosenthal said. The time is right for the auction, he said. Sealed bids are due June 15. ?There are clearly more buyers with cash to invest in real estate than in 2011, especially with the rise in the stock market,? Rosenthal said. The property has frontage on both Foresthill Divide Road and Finning Mill Road. The small community of Baker Ranch is next to the southeast portion of the tract. The property also has borders with Tahoe National Forest land.