[caption id="attachment_23272" align="alignright" width="214" caption="The five-bedroom Ladera model in the Linwood development. (Christopherson Homes image)"][/caption]

SONOMA COUNTY -- National homebuilder Lennar Corporation has purchased Santa Rosa-based Christopherson Homes' Linwood properties near the Sonoma County Fairgrounds and expects to have a sales office open within a month.

It is the second Sonoma County project for Miami-based Lennar. In February, Lennar opened Riverview in Petaluma, consisting of three- and four-bedroom homes starting in the low $600,000s.

At the time, Dale Billy, Lennar Bay Area Division president said, "We are bullish on the prospects for recovery and growth in the Bay Area. Lennar has been building homes for over 55 years, and we expect to be building homes here for years to come."

According to Laura Kilgore, director of marketing for Lennar, the company had been trying to get the Linwood deal closed for some time and finally did the week of July 12.

Ms. Kilgore said that Lennar will build the homes to the original plans, which Christopherson Homes called "down-home living and modern conveniences." Christopherson Homes was Sonoma County’s largest homebuilder when Linwood was originally under construction.

The Linwood community is planned for more than 200 townhomes and single-family dwellings.

"Our plan is, once the approvals come through, to start the sales effort in the next month. We will have a sales office and work to do in the existing models," she said.

Lennar is offering townhomes, villas and single-family homes at Linwood ranging from 1,109 to 2,566 square feet according to the original plans, and according to Linwood’s website, solar features will be available.

On July 15, Lennar filed a Declaration of Solar Energy Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions for Linwood with the Sonoma County Recorder’s Office. It pertains to both Phase I and Phase II of the Linwood properties.

It states that some or all of the homes constructed may be improved with roof-mounted residential solar energy systems.

Lennar already has a number of properties in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, in Dublin, Los Altos, San Francisco and Mare Island.

Mare Island in Solano County is a private/public partnership with the city of Vallejo. It was the nation’s first naval shipyard on the West Coast, established in 1854 and closed in 1996. ennar Mare Island’s portion of the 5,000-acre island is roughly 650 acres.

Included in the Mare Island Reuse Plan are 1,400 homes, roughly 7 million square feet of commercial and industrial space, plus many recreational amenities.

As of Nov. 30, 2009, Lennar owned 82,703 homesites and had access through option contracts to an additional 21,173 homesites. It offers services to homebuyers in 17 states.

The Lennar Corporation was founded in 1954 and is one of the nation’s leading homebuilders. Total assets as of the end of 2009 were reported at $7.31 billion.

Ms. Kilgore said Lennar is excited to expand its offerings in the North Bay, and it might not stop here.

"I have heard rumblings about more properties," she said. "But right now we are focused on Linwood."