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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, December 16, 2013, 6:55 am

Residential developer buys 95 acres in Sonoma County

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    SONOMA COUNTY — Newport Beach-based residential real estate developer City Ventures, Inc. (www.cityventures.com, 415-894-5270) has purchased seven residential-zoned properties throughout Sonoma County, eying new single-family home construction in a region with a need  for new housing stock.

    The purchase of 95 acres of previously bank-owned property from North Valley Bank closed escrow in early November, and is the most significant push by the company to gain a foothold in the North Bay to date.

    “We see it as an opportunity to get a toehold in Sonoma County,” said Patrick Hendry, vice president of land acquisition.

    Five of those properties are in Santa Rosa, with one in Windsor and one in Cotati. While much work is to be done in planning construction, the first home construction could be under way before the end of 2014, he said.

    “We’re exploring our options. But we are a home builder. We plan to build,” he said.

    Of the 31 City Ventures projects planned in the Bay Area, the recent purchase makes for a total of 10 in Sonoma County alone, Mr. Hendry said.The price of the transaction was not disclosed.

    The company already controlled two properties in Rohnert Park and one in Windsor, with early plans to develop those properties for primarily single-family housing as well, he said.

    “We’re well aware of the lack of supply,” Mr. Hendry said.

    Launched in 2009, City Ventures focuses on energy-efficient infill residential development throughout the coastal regions of Northern and Southern California. The majority of its new homes include some solar energy component, with its “Green Key” program developed for guiding development of highly efficient communities, Mr. Hendry said.

    The company has completed eight developments representing 217 lots throughout the state, with 14 named developments and 781 lots under development or for sale, according to a preliminary public filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission on June 18, 2013.

    City Ventures has not set a date or share price for its planned public offering, but is looking to raise up to $150 million and debut on the New York Stock Exchange as “CTYV.” The company has seen its year-over-year home sales revenue more than double to $96.5 million in 2012, with 144 home orders and 103 home closings at the end of that year, according to the filing.

    Sonoma County would represent a more suburban setting than has been typical for the company, but Mr. Hendry said that the area’s housing shortage and improving economy made it attractive for development.

    “This is the first of many opportunities we hope to find in Sonoma County,” he said.

    Ronald Reinking of Cornish & Carey Commercial Newmark Knight Frank and Kent Byers of W Real Estate together represented both City Ventures and North Valley Bank in brokering the transaction.

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