Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Abandoned California Business Campus To Become Mixed Residential/Commercial Community

While a lot of money is coming to the Midwest from California because real estate return on investment is higher here, that doesn't mean development has come to a halt in the Golden State. Codding Enterprises, a real estate company with a history in the shopping center industry, plans to transform the former Agilent Technologies campus -- a 200-acre office park -- into Sonoma Mountain Village, a high-density community with 1,900 housing units and 750,000 square feet of commercial space including a significant retail core surrounding a town square. The estimated $1 billion project would utilize the latest principles of sustainability, green technology and new urbanism and take approximately 10 to 15 years to build out.

In preparation for the redevelopment of the vacant property, Codding already has spent $7.5 million to create what is being called the largest privately-funded solar power installation in Northern California. The 90,000 sf of solar panels are capable of generating 1.14 megawatts of power, enough to run 1,000 homes. Central heating and cooling would be provided by a converted power plant left behind by Agilent.

A Codding spokesperson told Globe Street news service that housing will be oriented to take advantage of passive cooling created by prevailing northwest winds, and a network of cisterns will collect rainwater to flush toilets. To promote walking and riding bicycles over driving, the residential units--ranging from 500-square-foot condominiums to 3,500-square-foot single-family homes--will be located within a five-minute walk of the town center and within 10 minutes of a proposed train station. The four large office buildings existing on the property will be refaced and converted into a mix of commercial, retail and residential space. The massive asphalt parking lots on the property would be ground up and used to pave the streets.

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