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ROHNERT PARK, CA-Codding Enterprises, a local real estate company with a history in the shopping center industry, plans to transform the 200-acre former high-tech campus here into Sonoma Mountain Village, a high-density community with 1,900 housing units and 750,000 sf of commercial space including a significant retail core surrounding a town square. The estimated $1-billion endeavor would utilize the latest principles of sustainability, green technology and new urbanism and take approximately 10 to 15 years to build out.

The vacated property was most recently used by Agilent Technologies. In preparation for the redevelopment, 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. Planned modifications to the system are expected to make it carbon neutral within five years.

Housing would be oriented to take advantage of passive cooling created by prevailing northwest winds, and a network of cisterns would collect rainwater that would be used to flush toilets. To promote walking and riding bicycles over driving, the residential units–ranging from 500-sf condominiums to 3,500-sf single-family homes–would 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 would 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.

The preliminary development plan has been unanimously approved by the Rohnert Park Planning Commission. A company source tells GlobeSt.com that as the project moves through the entitlement process, one of the big tasks will be meshing the ideas for the development with city code, which are a reflection of related insurance laws. The goal is to resolve those issues and start building the first housing units within a couple of years.

Codding Enterprises, founded in 1849 as a residential developer, shifted to shopping center development in the middle 1900s. The company is now shifting its focus from property management and shopping center development to sustainable development. The shift began when Brad Baker became president and CEO in 2004.

Baker serves on the Board of American Biodiesel. Geof Syphers, Codding’s chief sustainability officer, has traveled to the world to study sustainable projects. He teaches courses in green building project management and speaks at conferences on the subject.

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