When builder C.C. Myers offered to donate 45 acres for a new high school in Roseville this summer, he had more than education on his mind.
Myers knows that if a school is built, his chances of developing about 400 acres that surround the school site will go way up.
Nearby, a competing developer, Signature Homes, is offering a similar deal - or what's known in the land game as a "growth-inducing gesture."
Such maneuvers are becoming common as a wave of land speculation washes into south Placer County for the first time since the late 1980s.
"Everybody is looking for the next major development land in the path of growth," said Dave Jarrette, a partner in the Roseville appraisal firm of Giannelli, Jarrette & Filipiak.
Speculators are driving up prices for raw land in the areas west of Roseville, and north and west of Lincoln.
The value of good "spec" land in south Placer has jumped by about 50 percent during the last year, according to one veteran land broker. Land near any of south Placer's three city limits is the prime target.
Roseville, Rocklin and Lincoln are booming. Business growth is driving population growth. Developers are building so fast and furious that land inside the three city limits is disappearing under rooftops.
Land developers figure the cities will be looking to expand into the countryside. It's what cities do. Speculators stand to double, triple or quadruple their original investments if their land can …