Lennar buys Barry Andrews Homes

All but the founder will be retained at Harford homebuilder

July 02, 2002|By Robert Nusgart | Robert Nusgart,SUN STAFF

Barry Andrews Homes, one of Harford County's leading builders and the 11th-largest overall in the Baltimore metropolitan area, was acquired yesterday by Lennar Corp., the nation's largest homebuilder.

Barry Andrews, founder of the company, will not remain with the firm, but all other employees as well as the name will be retained, according to Rory Dickens, division president of Silver Spring-based U.S. Home Corp., a Lennar subsidiary, who oversaw the acquisition. Andrews plans to start a land development firm.

Publicly held Lennar paid cash for the Bel Air-based builder. Terms were not disclosed. "We are always looking for good opportunities, and Barry Andrews Homes had a very good name," Dickens said. "He was operating in an area that we were not involved in, being primarily Harford and Cecil counties, and we were looking for someone with good organization that we could continue and grow upon."

With the addition to U.S. Home Corp. of Barry Andrews Homes and the January acquisition of Howard County-based Patriot Homes, Lennar controls three of the top 20 builders in the Baltimore region.

"This is an excellent homebuilding franchise which will be a wonderful complement to our growing presence in the Washington D.C./Baltimore marketplace," Robert Strudler, chief operating officer of Lennar Corp., said in a statement.

According to the Meyers Group, a Washington-based company that tracks and analyzes home construction, the three companies combined to sell 474 homes last year. That total would have ranked third in the region last year, behind Ryan Homes and Ryland Homes.

Last year, Barry Andrews sold 162 homes, and through April it had 65 sales in 14 Baltimore area communities.

"I think it is an opportunity to continue growth, and as the marketplace continues to get more competitive, it is going to allow Barry Andrews Homes to get that competitive advantage through size," said Craig Kehoe, who was promoted from vice president to regional president and is to run the company's day-to-day operations.

"Everyone here is excited about the opportunities to expand into Cecil County and maybe Delaware and other geographic areas that Barry Andrews Homes might have had a difficult time doing in the past."

Rick Kunkle, president of Patriot Homes, said Lennar's financial muscle is beneficial.

"We have signed up three land deals that we would not have as a private company due to the financial deposits required," Kunkle said. "We would not have wanted to take the risk."

One of the keys to the sale was the land options that Barry Andrews Homes was holding.

"I think this is the smart strategic move by Lennar Homes," said Linda Veach, executive vice president and general manager for Bob Ward Homes in Harford County. "It gives them entree into the Harford County market, and now they have immediate land positions in the area. ... They are going to be a force to be reckoned with."

Shares of Miami-based Lennar gained $2.10 yesterday to close at $63.30.

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