Homebuilder Estridge plans return after landing $25M

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Paul Estridge Jr. says he is returning to the home-building business after securing $25 million from a private-equity firm in North Carolina.

Carmel-based Estridge Homes LLC will use the capital infusion from Charlotte-based Mountain Real Estate Capital to begin acquiring land and building houses in the Indianapolis area.

The venture’s first project will be Harmony, a 270-acre community in Westfield on Ditch Road between 146th and 156th streets. Estridge said the land has been acquired and construction should start in March.

The builder will offer seven homes styles from 1,400 square feet to 3,600 square feet in Harmony with starting prices ranging from $225,000 to $425,000.

The Estridge family has been building homes in central Indiana since 1967 under various companies started by Paul Estridge Sr., who died in September, and his son, Paul Jr.

Estridge companies have developed as many as 20 communities and built about 8,000 homes over those years, they estimate.

Like many builders, Estridge got in trouble in the recession when the housing market collapsed. Paul Jr. filed Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy in September 2011. He owed a list of creditors that included banks, suppliers and vendors more than $50 million, but had assets of less than $5 million.

Estridge Group had as many as 150 full-time employees in 2004 when it was building more than 300 homes a year as one of the area's largest builders, but it had fewer than 10 at the time of the bankruptcy.

Over the past three years, Mountain, founded in 1993, has invested more than $700 million in similar ventures with private homebuilders in 18 states. The equity firm is capitalized with more than $1 billion.

The deal with Estridge will be Mountain’s first investment in central Indiana. In the last year, Mountain has formed partnerships in Salt Lake City; Milwaukee; Omaha, Neb.; Long Island, N.Y.; and Winchester, Va.


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