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Developer Allegedly Defaults on Planned Calabasas Project

Solar farm developer Clinton Brown has allegedly defaulted on a loan at a Calabasas site where he wants to build a 200-home subdivision, The Real Deal has learned. 

The property, at 27250 Agoura Road, is currently on the market for $29 million, according to a listing on Zillow and other websites. The vacant lot covers 27.4 acres perched atop the Calabasas hills. Entitlements for the envisioned houses are pending the resolution of a federal lawsuit against L.A. County, according to the listing.

The entity that owns the site, Atlas LLC, was issued a default notice on Dec. 18, property records show. The lender, Steve Weera Tonasut Trust, claims that Atlas fell behind on $268,027 in debt.

Brown’s brokerage firm, Atlas Inc., plans to build a residential project on the site called Atlas Hills. According to the company’s website, the project, described as a “new, vibrant California neighborhood,” will feature homes fitted with “the latest in smart home technology.” Three-bed, two-bath homes in the planned complex are already up for sale at nearly $1.1 million, based on the company’s website.  

“I just want to be able to develop this property for housing that we need today,” Brown told TRD

The default notice came after Brown sued investor Emil Assentato, who owned a minority stake in the property. According to court documents, Brown initially planned to build a 20-megawatt solar field on the site. However, this was rejected by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.

Brown filed a lawsuit against the agency in 2022 over the rejection, arguing in the complaint that the designation of the entire property as a “significant ecological area,” which justifies the denial, violates the Constitution’s Takings Clause. The case remains open, court records show. 

The alleged default adds to the roster of distressed residential development sites in the Los Angeles market.

L.A.-based developer Shangri-La Industries has allegedly defaulted on $41 million in debt tied to seven properties under Project Homekey, a state program that funds conversions of motels into housing for the homeless. According to TRD data, the firm has obtained at least $121 million in loans from the state between 2020 to 2022. 

In December, WS Communities defaulted on a $5.3 million loan tied to a parcel in Santa Monica. The lot sits adjacent to a 16-story apartment tower that the firm is constructing under builder’s remedy. 

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