Not unlike most Capital Region developers, New Faze Development has been through some very serious and trying financial scenarios during the past four years. The North Sacramento-based company has abandoned projects, lost properties and seen its lenders go out of business.
In 2007, having realized all indicators pointed toward real estate calamity, Warren addressed his 40-member staff.
“Rather than implement mass layoffs, which would have been the best thing to do businesswise, I instead informed my staff what was on the horizon,” Warren says. “I told them the market had changed; our business plan was no longer going to work. I encouraged them to look for new jobs, ad said I would do everything possible to keep them on until they had secured new positions.”
According to Warren, last month his last remaining full-time staffer got a new job.
“I am very proud of them,” he says. “We had a great staff.”
He’s also gratified New Faze Development still has a pulse and is looking to develop, albeit with just one part-time employee and a couple on-call consultants. Warren says the company has picked up a few new properties and has two projects in the early stages of entitlement, including a mixed-use solar project in Amador County.
“There are opportunities to be innovative,” he says. “The traditional business models have to be set aside for now. I’m looking at a green project that’s a combination of housing, power plant and maybe some light commercial. It’s a $75 million project in concept stage that’s slowly moving along. I don’t want to jinx it by saying much more right now.”
This apprehensiveness is due to lenders’ almost absolute aversion to risk on the development front. In past years a development’s property itself was usually good for the collateral on an initial loan. Not anymore. According to Warren, you now have to “prove the plan.” This includes taking it through the entitlement process, developing a business plan, having tenants lined up and being just about ready to sell your end product.
Despite these challenges, Warren says he remains optimistic. “I’ve maintained relationships, both personal and private, that have this company poised for the turnaround.”
Occupation: Warren, 48, is president & CEO of New Faze Development. Founded in 1990, the company committed much of its efforts to redeveloping North Sacramento’s aging business and residential districts, however it was also involved in numerous other projects throughout Northern California. At the height of the real estate market, New Faze employed 40 people. Today, Warren has one part-time employee.
Personal: He currently resides in Carmichael with his wife, Gina, and three children: Braxton, 14, Synclaire, 11, and Roman, 8. Warren and his wife first met while attending junior high in North Sacramento. Throughout their professional careers they have each remained deeply committed to their childhood community.
City council: “Over the years, I have continually been approached by community and business leaders to run for office. The time may just be right for me to represent my neighborhood as a member of the Sacramento City Council.”
Lunch: At the newly renovated Enotria Restaurant Wine Bar on Del Paso Blvd., Warren enjoys a smoked, pulled pork sandwich with spicy barbecue sauce and sides of creamy coleslaw and fries.
Steven Hansen, 32, is a senior regional manager at California-based biotechnology company Genentech Inc. He is a neighborhood representative for the Downtown Sacramento Partnership board of directors and was one of 15 city residents selected to serve on the Sacramento Redistricting Citizens Advisory Committee. Last November, Hansen announced his run to become Sacramento’s first openly gay council member in the newly aligned District 6.