Larry H. Miller Group buys Daybreak, expanding its real estate holdings

The Larry H. Miller Group of Cos. Announced Monday that she is purchasing a large portion of Daybreak, the Master-planned church in South Jordan.

Miller Group’s real estate sector is purchasing more than 1,300 acres of undeveloped space in the eclectic west end of South Jordan, including stakes in existing commercial real estate and future commercial and residential developments.

The terms of the transaction were not made public. According to official information, the purchase is not an existing Daybreak home.

Steve Starks, CEO of Sandy-based Larry H. Miller Group, and Brendan Bosman, CEO of Värde Partners, the Minneapolis investment firm that bought most of Daybreak from Rio Tinto Kennecott in 2016, have made the essential deal for the residential real estate markets in Utah announced.

Brad Holmes, president of Larry H. Miller Real Estate, said the acquisition will expand the company’s real estate base within a portfolio that is now focused on sports, car dealerships, a chain of movie theaters, finance, insurance and healthcare.

“We are community builders and we are committed to the continued success of this nationally recognized and thriving master-planned development,” Holmes said in a written statement. The company hoped to “creatively and proactively approach regional growth through mixed planning and development”.

The Larry H. Miller Group continues to branch out

This is the second of its kind the business empire has announced since selling its controlling stake in Utah Jazz to Ryan Smith, founder of Provo-based customer management technology company Qualtrics, in October.

Managers at the company, which was founded by late jazz owner Larry Miller, who died in 2009, said in January that they owned Advanced Health Care Corp. bought an Idaho-born chain of high-end nursing, home health, and hospice centers in Utah and seven other states.

Daybreak was built and opened in 2004 below the Oquirrh Mountains on a tidy portion of the Bingham Canyon Mine by Kennecott. It’s designed to be sustainable and pedestrian-friendly, incorporating a variety of apartment types into denser neighborhoods and smaller courtyards than is common in most Utah suburbs, with residential clusters surrounded by large open spaces.

Kennecott’s parent company, Rio Tinto, sold the community’s finished homes, approximately 2,500 acres of vacant land, Oquirrh Lake, and several large commercial buildings to Värde Partners in June 2016. The divestment would “generate cash flow and flexibility as we streamline our business and focus on mining. “

The sale also coincided with a drop in commodity prices that had forced layoffs for Rio Tinto’s operations in Utah.

Since opening in 2004, Daybreak has grown to over 6,000 homes with around 21,000 residents. It is now one of the most successful master-planned municipalities in the country.

Home sales in the 4,000-acre settlement have risen dramatically in recent years, largely due to increased demand for housing and a national flight to the suburbs during the coronavirus pandemic.

“We look forward to building on the already established success of this community with the remaining vacant business park and the thousands of homes to be built in this regional target area,” Starks said in a press release.

Elected officials applaud the Daybreak sale

The deal was praised by elected officials, including Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson, who noted that much of the county’s population growth was taking place in this southwestern part of the Salt Lake Valley.

Wilson said in a written statement that she “looks forward to working with Larry H. Miller Real Estate and other stakeholders to develop plans that support job growth, open space and recreation, strong infrastructure, and community goals.”

South Jordan Mayor Dawn Ramsey added that she was “excited” to welcome the Larry H. Miller team to her city “to serve current and future homeowners, employers and businesses.”

Holmes said the acquisition “is a perfect match for our property development and property management skills.”

Värde has sought to improve the mix of housing options in Daybreak while investing in key commercial properties in the suburban community, including expanding a University of Utah Hospital campus, opening an outpatient clinic for veterans, and attracting a new Salt Lake County Library to open this fall.

The real estate investment firm has also advanced plans for a large network of interconnected waterways and lakes within Daybreak known as Watercourse Amenity.

Värde said his investment approach has also helped boost home sales in the community. While Daybreak was a remarkably large proportion of total Salt Lake County’s total home sales even before COVID-19, recent data suggests that sales rose from 452 in 2016 to 1,055 last year.

“We are proud of where the community is today,” said Bosman, Värde General Manager, “and look forward to seeing the continued success of Daybreak under the leadership of the Larry H. Miller Group.”